Brussels to invest €9bn in AI and cyber security

Budget is aimed at helping Member States to create successful digital strategies at European level

Photo: BTA EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel (in the middle) speaking during a special EC panel at Innowave Summit

The European Union will propose a new "Digital Europe" programme with a budget of €9bn, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel announced in her opening speech at the InnoWave Summit, one of the largest digital conferences in Southeastern Europe, held in Varna this Friday and Saturday.

“This is a budget that clearly states we want action at European level in five main areas. Five areas where it is clear that no Member State could cope on its own. We’re speaking of artificial intelligence, cyber security, digital skills, high computing technologies and the creation of innovative hubs," Gabriel said, continuing that her goal is for Europe to become a business world leader such as the US and China.

To achieve that, the EU Commissioner added that new funding opportunities will be available through a  newly created European Innovation Council, which will help smaller companies connect with partners throughout the value chain. The commitment is proposed  to reach € 13bn from now to 2027.

"My vision (for Europe as a digital entrepreneurship leader) involves a two - way process: a digital top-down  strategy to make the most of the digital single market and bottom-up activities to increase the creation of creative startups," she explained.

"We have not achieved a little until now – we abolished the roaming charges and and its unjustified blocking of the geographic principle, we made an European approach to online disinformation,managed to facilitate online cross-border tax collection, created data protection regulation, established measures for fair competition between sellers and online platforms and encouraged digital skills,” Gabriel also stated in her speech.

During the event Gabriel also participated in a special European Commission discussion panel on the topic Women in Tech in Western Balkans together with Nancy Nemes, former Sales & Marketing leader at Google and Microsoft, Arta Shehu Zaimi, co-founder of the starups Labbox and jCoders Academy and Anelia Pergoot, CEO of LEM Bulgaria. Moderator of the discussion was Justine Toms - expert in online media and digital marketing.

Innowave Summit 2018 features the leaders of over 80 world-class companies, holding investment portfolios of more than $100m, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Space X, Alibaba, Salesforce, Amazon, Ebay, Yandex, Dell, Twitter, LinkedIn, Oracle, Vimeo, Booking, Space X and venture capital funds. At the event they will share their experience, inspirations and business development ideas, regarding nano technologies, fintech, digital healthcare, start-ups' development and strategies, marketing automation processes, e-commerce trends, changing consumer behaviour models in the digital market, etc. The conference also introduces the latest innovations in the fields of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning.

"A Bulgarian company will show a prototype of a humanoid robot-hologram. Undisputed hit is expected to be Israeli companies that are developing a special technology to help the blind. The team has created a special camera that can be attached to any pair of glasses and if the person is blind, the camera recognises people, text, banknotes and speaks," Nikolay Petkanov, expo manager of the event, revealed for Europost before the opening today.

Among the other leading accents in the expo hall are representatives from the fashion industry who have made innovation through nanotechnology, woven into fabric. The company will present its clothes exposed in an aquatic environment to demonstrate how water-resistant the fabric is. Visitors to the InnoWave Summit are also able to see and touch the smart hanger, made by young people in Shumen, which was chosen as Furniture of the year. The Forum has also attracted a low-tech sector company, but with high technology for presenting - a team of young people who have made a 2mm thick marble and onyx cutting method. A treasure hunt that finds its application in furniture or decoration of apartments.

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