US and EU announce first-of-its-kind AI deal

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The United States and the European Union announced an agreement Friday to accelerate and improve the use of artificial intelligence to improve agriculture, health care, emergency response, weather forecasting and the power grid.

A senior US administration official, discussing the initiative shortly before the official announcement, called it the first comprehensive AI agreement between the US and Europe. Agreements on the issue have previously been limited to specific areas, such as improving privacy, the official said.

AI modeling, which refers to machine learning algorithms that use data to make logical decisions, could be used to improve the speed and efficiency of government operations and services.

“The magic here is in building joint models (while) leaving the data where it is,” the senior administration official said. “The US data stays in the US and the European data stays there, but we can build a model that talks to the data from Europe and the US because the more data and the more diverse it is, the better will be the model.”

The initiative will give governments greater access to more detailed and data-rich artificial intelligence models, leading to more efficient emergency responses and power grid management, among other benefits, the administration official said.

Pointing to the power grid, the official said the United States collects data on how electricity is used, where it is generated, and how to balance the load on the grid so that climate changes don’t take it offline.

Many European countries have similar data points that they collect in relation to their own networks, the official said. Under the new partnership, all of that data would be harnessed in a common AI model that would produce better results for emergency managers, network operators and others who rely on AI to improve systems.

Currently, the partnership is only between the White House and the European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-member European Union. The senior administration official said other countries will be invited to join in the coming months.

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