The European Big Data Value Forum (EBDVF) is the flagship event of the European Big Data and Data-Driven AI Research and Innovation community. It is an annual event and takes place in the country that is holding the Presidency of the European Council in that year. The conference is organized by the Big Data Value Association (BDVA) and the European Commission (DG CONNECT).
The 2020 edition of the EBDVF took place in Germany between the 3rd and the 5th of November 2020, and was organized in collaboration with DFKI, Plattform Industrie 4.0, Plattform Lernende Systeme and Berlin Partner. Due to the intense development of the COVID-19 pandemic the event was produced out of DFKI in Berlin as a virtual event.
In her opening remarks Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, said “Securing Gemany's and Europe's technological sovereignty is our aim, so that Germany and Europe stay competitive. It's about jobs. It´s about prosperity. It´s also about shaping AI in line with our ethical standards”. With the central theme “Building a strong European Data and AI Ecosystem”, the EBDVF 2020 edition brought together the German and European communities on AI and Data. It contributed to the discussions on the European Data and AI Strategy, specifically addressing key topics for Europe such as the development of European Data Spaces, the importance of Technology Platforms and Trust, the opportunities for market uptake and the new challenges ahead for Data and AI within the society.
EBDVF 2020 was also focussed on how Data and AI can help to tackle emerging societal challenges, like those brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. For this edition, cross-sectorial tracks were combined with sectorial tracks on Manufacturing, Autonomous Systems, Transport, Mobility and Logistics, Health and Smart Society. Furthermore, the programme included multiple research and innovation sessions and startups pitches, showcasing Europe’s R&I excellence in Data and AI.
Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General DG CONNECT, European Commission, stressed that the digital transformation and especially data and AI were key priorities for the commission. He announced that there will be a legal data framework to support the free flow of data across the member states, so that data can be captured, stored and computed in the EU in a trustful way. This Data Governance Act is seen as a key legal framework for data sharing. It will come in the beginning of 2021. Rouhana said that an investment of at least 1.2 Billion Euro is planned to create common data spaces for health, transportation, mobility, energy, environment and industrial data. Aditionally, Rouhana said that a legal framework for trustful and citizen centric AI will be presented also in the beginning of 2021 on the basis of the white paper of the High Level Expert Group on AI (HLEG) and the accompanying public discussion process.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data and Robotics/embedded AI presents an opportunity and a challenge to Europe. An opportunity to improve the operation of European public and private sectors. And a challenge to enhance Europe’s existing strength with core AI, Data and Robotics strengths into a global market advantage. Industry, Start-ups, Government, investors, researchers and representatives of the civic society expressed their will to join forces, to engage, to shape and to get all the value out for this European partnership.
Thomas Jarzombek, Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Start-ups for the German Government, said in his opening keynote that AI and Data policy have to go hand in hand. „Europe must be an innovator not only a regulator. With GAIA-X we are building a secure and safe cloud infrastructure for Europe which will be a base for the digital economy. Currently 350 companies and organizations are involved. We in Europe are dedicated to keep control of our data and to enable our industry to reap the benefits of its know-how. Industrie 4.0 is the key for the resilience of our economy.“
AI, Data and Robotics are transversal and cut across sectors affecting many actors in the value chain. There is widespread acceptance that AI, Data and Robotics will have significant impact on all economic sectors and on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving these impacts requires more than a strong market and technology position, it needs a skilled workforce and a regulatory and standardization landscape that can speed up deployment and enable markets to develop; it requires strategy and an understanding of best practice all of which the Partnership will enable. The Partnership provides an opportunity to combine and scale up the impact of public and private investments to create greater value for European business and society through the wide-spread deployment of AI, Data and Robotics.
EBDVF brought together key decision makers, industry players and innovators to discuss the “must have” for Europe to leverage current AI opportunities for business and society, and how a European Partnership can support this endeavour. There were three general objectives and accompanying guiding questions for the AI, Data and Robotics partnership that were addressed. Answers of which will have broad impact on the areas of science, economy, technology, society and environment:
- Where is Europe strong and how can Europe reinforce a strong and global competitive position?
- How can Europe establish a leadership with high socio-economic impact?
- How can Europe secure its sovereignty over technologies and knowhow?
In September 2020 BDVA, euRobotics, ELLIS, CLAIRE and EurAI, published the third release of the Strategic Research, Innovation and Deployment Agenda (SRIDA). The five organisations are committed to working closely together to strengthen the AI, Data and Robotics partnership.
The Vision of the Partnership is to boost European competitiveness, societal wellbeing and environmental aspects to lead the world in researching, developing and deploying value-driven trustworthy AI, Data and Robotics based on fundamental European rights, principles and values.
About BDVA: BDVA is an industry-driven international not-for-profit organisation with over 200 members all over Europe and with very strong participation of German Industry and Research Institutions. BDVA is the private counterpart to the European Commission to implement the Big Data Value Public-Private Partnership, is a private member of the EuroHPC JU and is also one of the main promoters of the AI, Data and Robotics Partnership being proposed for next framework programme (2021-2027).