A host of top scientists have signed an open letter calling for the launch of an Artificial Intelligence hub in Europe.
The European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems, or ELLIS, would have bases in several countries including the UK.
It would act to keep Europe in competition with the USA and China in the domain of Artificial Intelligence.
The Guardian reports that several top PhD students in fields like AI are leaving the UK to take high salaried positions in the USA.
This ‘brain drain’ effect was a trigger for the launch of CERN, the particle physics lab near Geneva that houses the hadron collider.
The introduction to the letter reads:
“We are at a crossroads where
(1) machine learning is at the heart of a technological and societal artificial intelligence revolution involving multiple sister disciplines, with large implications for the future competitiveness of Europe,
(2) Europe is not keeping up: most of the top labs, as well as the top places to do a PhD, are located in North America; moreover, AI investments in China and North America are significantly larger than in Europe, and
(3) the distinction between academic research and industrial labs is vanishing, with a significant part of the basic research now being done in industry (with substantial research freedom, and higher salaries), rapid commercialization of results, and academic institutions worldwide struggling to retain their best scientists (with negative implications not only for research but also for the education of future talent). This further weakens Europe since all of the companies doing top research in this field are controlled from the US (or China) – many European companies whose future business crucially depends on AI are not perceived as competitive.”
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