The European Commission (EC) unveiled plans to accelerate the deployment of AI, in an aim to compete with the US and China and become a global leader in the industry.

Proposals unveiled today (19 February) emphasise development of trustworthy and people-first technology, while also targeting creation of new opportunities for businesses in the bloc.

In a statement, the EC said Europe will focus on developing domestic AI systems, and asserted the region had “all it needs to become a world leader” in the field.

It plans to create “the right incentives to accelerate deployment of AI,” and will seek talent from EU member states.

The EC highlighted the need for clear and strict rules for high-risk AI use cases covering health, policing, transport and other areas, noting systems “should be transparent, traceable and guarantee human oversight”.

It also argued authorities should be able to test and certify the data used by algorithms, similar to existing rules for checking cosmetics, cars and toys.

“Unbiased data is needed to train high-risk systems to perform properly, and to ensure respect of fundamental rights, in particular non-discrimination”.

The Commission also insisted on launching a broad debate on circumstances which might justify the use of facial recognition for remote biometric identification.

For low-risk AI services, the EC plans to adopt a voluntary labelling scheme.

The proposals are open for public consultation until 19 May, with the EC planning to include them in a Digital Services Act and a European Democracy Action Plan later in the year.

In a statement, Afke Schaart, VP and head of Europe, Russia and CIS at industry association GSMA, explained mobile operators in the region “will form the backbone of the region’s future economy”.

“The GSMA applauds the European Commission’s vision in the Digital Strategy published today, which recognises connectivity as the most fundamental aspect of digitalisation.”