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Scientists Plan Huge European AI Hub To Compete With US (theguardian.com) 69

Leading scientists have drawn up plans for a vast multinational European institute devoted to world-class artificial intelligence (AI) research in a desperate bid to nurture and retain top talent in Europe. From a report: The new institute would be set up for similar reasons as Cern, the particle physics lab near Geneva, which was created after the second world war to rebuild European physics and reverse the brain drain of the brightest and best scientists to the US. Named the European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems, or Ellis, the proposed AI institute would have major centres in a handful of countries, the UK included, with each employing hundreds of computer engineers, mathematicians and other scientists with the express aim of keeping Europe at the forefront of AI research. In an open letter that urges governments to act, the scientists describe how Europe has not kept up with the US and China, where the vast majority of leading AI firms and universities are based. The letter adds that while a few "research hotspots" still exist in Europe, "virtually all of the top people in those places are continuously being pursued for recruitment by US companies."
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Scientists Plan Huge European AI Hub To Compete With US

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  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @10:19AM (#56494041)
    Are they going to have "computer programmer's motivator's [slashdot.org]?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is what Europeans do best: Plan it. They will have very impressive plans, committees, and meetings. Much more extensive and impressive than anything that China or the US will do. They will translate it into 24 languages [europa.eu], and meticulously ensure that the meaning is exact in all of them.

    On the other hand when it actually comes to doing it....

    • They will translate it into 24 languages

      Perhaps they can get the AI to do that.

      • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

        They will translate it into 24 languages

        Perhaps they can get the AI to do that.

        Add that idea to the appendix, translate, distribute, and discuss!

    • ... snipsnip... On the other hand when it actually comes to doing it....

      CERN [home.cern]

      • by vakuona ( 788200 )

        CERN does research that the private sector wouldn't do.

        AI is something the private sector is all over at the moment.

        What is likely to happen is that the EU will legislate / regulate to make it difficult for anyone to do anything useful with AI, while the Americans (and Chinese) build up an unassailable lead in the technology.

        The US will let companies experiment and then regulate later while the EU will kill everything by regulating them to death first.

  • You want "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"? Cause this is how you get it.
  • by tphb ( 181551 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @11:26AM (#56494403)

    You don't need huge institutes and government funding to do AI. The major government-sponsored AI initiatives have been largely wasted, whereas commercial AI is getting serious traction.

    • You don't need huge institutes and government funding to do AI.

      Off course you do. At the very least for those "innovative" commercial tech followers.

      There was a nice program about the use of algorithms in dutch TV about the bias these algorithms get from their historical input. So algorithms were seen as neutral, but discriminated at least as hard as humans did.

      What the program forgot to mention is that "lower class" people don't order for these algorithms, and the "upper class" people who do order them don't want to be bitten by them. The perfect example is China, whe

    • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @12:06PM (#56494687)

      Europe doesn't have the same sort of venture capital culture as the US. Even in London there is no Sand Hill equivalent where you can rock on up with your MIT degree and Tony Robins positive energy and walk out with a few million to start you cat tracker app.

      There are a huge number of UK startups and university spinoffs that run off angel money that requires the CEO to periodically attend snooty events with the remnants of Europe's landed gentry, or do deals with dodgy foreigners trying to laundering money. Those that get VC money are getting it from the offshoots of US firms, or even just through US firms directly with Delaware registered HQs to boot. Another approach is to convince some ageing celebrity (e.g. Richard Branson) to lend his name to your idea, so you can list on the exchanges and get a bunch of money from desperate pension funds.

      For whatever reason, the USA seems to embrace the idea that throwing $1000 at 20 different crazy ideas is worth it on the chance that one succeeds, whereas in most other countries there needs to be a big investigation and lynching when one single $1000 investment fails.

      This is why the EU needs public sector investment for this sort of stuff. In some EU countries the method has actually delivered results, while in others (e.g. UK) I suspect the public is just so conditioned to accept government incompetence that this is just a sort of path of least resistance thing.

    • The major government-sponsored AI initiatives have been largely wasted

      You mean like all of the publicly funded university research which kicked off the entire field?

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Gov't sponsored research often does kick-start new ideas, but the results are usually public knowledge such that it often doesn't directly benefit the sponsoring country. Any country can use the research results.

        Perhaps Europe should focus on increasing and/or subsidizing AI-related education, which includes educating people for private-sector AI work.

    • Serious traction? That's yet to be seen. The stuff that they have come up so far is, for the most part, an extension of notions that have been known and understood for decades, made to look more spectacular thanks to the increased computational power developed since. But Alexa, Google Home (or whatever it is called today) and Siri are pretty much as unintelligent as such things have always been, and only marginally useful; Watson is good at Jeopardy, but not much else so far, and the chess and go engines ca
    • by Turmio ( 29215 )
      You don't need huge institutes and government funding to do global interconnected network. The major government-sponsored networking initiatives have been largely wasted, whereas commercial global network development efforts is getting serious traction. Just as e.g. the Microsoft of 90's how they beat the Internet. You don't need huge institutes and government funding to put man in the Moon. The major government-sponsored space exploration initiatives have been largely wasted, whereas commercial space trav
  • Call it, say .... Skynet.

  • Sounds like there might be a plot for a good movie in here. Oh, wait:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @06:41PM (#56497241)
    To somebody used to have 30 days of vacation days each year, and 40 hours of work per week, without the expectation to slave away 24/7, those recruitment efforts by US companies are not that attractive.

    I have worked for both US and EU companies, and would always choose the EU quality of life over the vague chance of some large bonus that US companies try to lure people with. Also, the way that US companies patronize their employees is simply awkward. Go away with your "codes of conduct" and all the other corporate crap!
  • An AI article actually about AI. I can die happy now.

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.