The EU Will Lag On AI For The Same Reason It Lost On Phones And EVs

Let’s discuss why the EU lags on artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, cloud storage, phone technology, and nearly everything else…

Eurointelligence comments Europe is Losing the AI Battle.

Having missed the first stage of the digital revolution, Europe is now in danger of missing the next big phase: that of artificial intelligence, a technology that is now experiencing explosive growth. The US is leading, followed by China, and this is pretty much it.

The German government has commissioned a study on large European AI models, which argues that unless the EU can develop its own technology, it will become dependent on the US, which would also mean dependence on a lower standard of data protection. The problem is that Europeans see artificial intelligence as a threat against which they want to protect themselves. It is hardly surprising that they are not the lead developers.

We recall when some large German companies deluded themselves in the 1990s that they could out-compete digital technologies through sophisticated analogue technology. Remember Francois Mitterrand’s and Helmut Kohl’s high-definition television? The EU is committing the same mistake on AI.

The problem is computing power. Microsoft is about to invest $10bn into OpenAI, a open-source AI lab. The German government has a budget of €3bn to invest into a whole series of small projects. The problem is that the technology is moving at a faster speed than the debating schedule in the Bundestag.

And we don’t see political leaders turning this into a high-priority matter. At least Kohl and Mitterrand were interested in technology. They just bet on the wrong one.

The politics has not changed either. In Germany, the CDU is in favour of de-regulation, but the Greens, who run the economics ministry, want to prioritise data protection. This is why we are where we are.

EU vs US Explained

Microsoft alone will spend over three times what Germany as a country will spend. Factor in Google, Amazon, and the US defense industry. 

The EU likes to protect existing businesses. Germany cheated to protect legacy diesel engines for years.

On mundane matters like agriculture, France protects the small farm. 

The EU now has lawsuits against Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. The US leads because the EU would bust up any company before it got big enough to lead on anything. 

It’s the same story on artificial intelligence where Greens are hell bent on protecting rather than investing. 

And heaven forbid any European company get big enough to achieve anything. The EU would bust them all up in the name of competition. 

EV Production

The EU had a lead in EVs. China now does.

On January 27, 2023 I noted In Two Years, China More Than Doubles the US on Car Exports, Catches Germany

Even when the EU has a lead it cannot manage to keep it for long.