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Tech policy

Europe risks being left behind as a tech power

The continent’s potential to create new technologies in the age of AI might never be fulfilled as the US and China race ahead.

The news: Bloomberg reports that a group called the Joint European Disruption Initiative (yep, JEDI), made up of 117 experts from academia and industry, thinks Europe may become “irrelevant” in the current world of applied technology if it doesn’t double down on R&D.

What now? JEDI wants European nations to establish a $1.2 billion fund to support a pan-European R&D push modeled on DARPA. It should, the experts behind it say, work fast and get projects started within just months. French president Emmanuel Macron seems to feel it: according to Reuters, he plans to announce a new initiative this week to help France become an AI leader.

Why it matters: Europe has a strong research track record but often fails to turn that into practical technology. (You can blame EU bureaucracy for at least some of that.) A new effort to invigorate its R&D sector might help change things, but the continent will still face huge competition from China and America.

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