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The EU wants to build its first quantum computer. That plan might not be ambitious enough


EU Commission vice president Margrethe Vestager and commissioner Thierry Breton presented a new roadmap for the next 10 years - the '2030 digital compass'. The European Union is determined to remain a competitive player in the quantum revolution that's expected in the next decade, and has unveiled plans to step up the development of quantum technologies within the bloc before 2030. EU Commission vice president Margrethe Vestager and commissioner Thierry Breton have presented a new roadmap for the next 10 years, the '2030 digital compass', which sets out targets for digital transformation across many different fields, in an effort to reassert the bloc's relevance in a range of technologies. New objectives were set for quantum technologies, with the Commission targeting a first computer with quantum acceleration by 2025, paving the way for Europe to be "at the cutting edge" of quantum capabilities by 2030. The ultimate goal, according to the roadmap, is for the EU to be able to develop quantum computers which are highly efficient, fully programmable and accessible from anywhere in Europe, to solve in hours what can currently be solved in hundreds of days, if not years.

High-risk Artificial Intelligence to be 'certified, tested and controlled,' Commission says


Artificial Intelligence technologies carrying a high-risk of abuse that could potentially lead to an erosion of fundamental rights will be subjected to a series of new requirements, the European Commission announced on Wednesday (19 February). As part of the executive's White paper on AI, a series of'high-risk' technologies have been earmarked for future oversight, including those in'critical sectors' and those deemed to be of'critical use.' Those under the critical sectors remit include healthcare, transport, police, recruitment, and the legal system, while technologies of critical use include such technologies with a risk of death, damage or injury, or with legal ramifications. Artificial Intelligence technologies coming under those two categories will be obliged to abide by strict rules, which could include compliance tests and controls, the Commission said on Wednesday. Sanctions could be imposed should certain technologies fail to meet such requirements.

The Achilles' heel of Europe's AI strategy


This article is part of a special report on artificial intelligence, The AI Issue. Europe's plan to ride a new wave of AI innovation into a technological renaissance relies on companies sharing their data with researchers and entrepreneurs. But will the companies play along? According to interviews with industry groups representing Silicon Valley, European tech companies and Germany's industrial base, the answer for now is: maybe, but only to a limited extent, and even then only when sharing data will not benefit rivals. "We haven't seen any single company speaking up in public saying it was a great idea," said Alexandre Roure of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a tech lobby whose members include Google and Facebook.

Digital Innovation Hubs: €1.5 billion network to support green and digital transformation starts to take shape


A two-day discussion on the future of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) took place last month, as over 2000 stakeholders and policy-makers gathered online for the first time to take stock of the upcoming hubs network. European Digital Innovation Hubs are one-stop-shops where companies and public sector organisations can access and test digital innovations, gain the required digital skills, get advice on financing support and ultimately accomplish their digital transformation in the context of the twin green and digital transition which is at the core of European industrial policy. The EDIHs will become a network spread across the entire EU, sharing best practices and specialist knowledge and ready to support companies and public administrations in any region and economic sector. EDIHs will also play a brokering role between public administrations and companies providing e-government technologies, and are an important tool in Europe's industrial and SME policies as they are close to local companies and'speak their language'. Member States have already been invited to designate potential hubs.

EU's new AI rules will focus on ethics and transparency


The European Union is set to release new regulations for artificial intelligence that are expected to focus on transparency and oversight as the region seeks to differentiate its approach from those of the United States and China. On Wednesday, EU technology chief Margrethe Vestager will unveil a wide-ranging plan designed to bolster the region's competitiveness. While transformative technologies such as AI have been labeled critical to economic survival, Europe is perceived as slipping behind the U.S., where development is being led by tech giants with deep pockets, and China, where the central government is leading the push. Europe has in recent years sought to emphasize fairness and ethics when it comes to tech policy. These systems would require human oversight and audits, according to a widely leaked draft of the new rules.