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Global AI Race Divided Over Data Privacy

Europe declares that AI R&D must focus on

eetasia.com, Grenoble, Jul. 05, 2019 – 

In the world of AI research, Europe has drawn a line in the sand, declaring that R&D must focus squarely on "Edge AI."

This proclamation draws a stark contrast to "Cloud-based AI," the model aggressively pursued by China and the United States. During "Innovation Days" hosted here by French research institute CEA-Leti this past week, Emmanuel Sabonnadiere, CEA-Leti's CEO, discussed the "two schools of AI research" that have split the world in two.

Both the U.S. and China have been collecting massive amounts of data which they use for training AIs, the basis for their claims they lead the world AI race. Strict data privacy regulations in Europe might be seen as impeding European companies' progress in AI, but that's not necessarily the case. Conforming to those regulations is instead "shaping Europe to manage its AI research strategy very differently," said Sabonnadiere. Once AI is trained in the cloud, Europe sees its role as applying further learning and personalization to "Edge AI."

Is Europe behind in AI?

This prompts the question of whether Europe is really lagging in the race for AI. The answer: not necessarily. To begin with, from a worldwide perspective, AI research is barely out of the starting gate.

It's easy to dismiss the notion of "Edge AI," given that it's something plenty of companies say they're already doing. That's true to the extent that everybody seems to be slapping AI accelerators into smartphones and calling it "AI at the edge." To be clear, when CEA-Leti talks about "Edge AI," this means its researchers are thinking about technology used in inferences that go way beyond current edge AI practices.

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