Orgalim contribution to the Commission consultations on data and AI
18 June 2020
The EU’s strategies for artificial intelligence (AI) and data aim to encourage businesses to work with, and develop, these new technologies, while at the same time making sure that they earn citizens’ trust. Both aims are crucial to address the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis while helping industry remain at the forefront of global leadership. Orgalim has participated in two important consultations on data and AI, and this way contributed to building the EU’s future strategy on these important topics.
We remain convinced that data and AI will transform our industries, and keep Europe sustainable and competitive, and we would like to share with you some key areas of the feedback we have provided to the Commission.
European data strategy
Europe’s technology industries see the transition to a data-driven economy as not only inevitable, but also essential for their future growth and competitiveness. Our companies are already developing and providing sensor equipped machinery, data-based services, smart production systems and intelligent products. Industrial data and its exchange have become part of commercial practice for our industries. Data flows make it possible to increase manufacturing productivity and tap into new efficiency gains, whilst simultaneously enabling new data-driven services and business models. These are our key points with regard to the data economy, as also addressed in our consultation submission and our Paper on Data of February 2020:
Contracts in Business to Business (B2B) are crucial and freedom of contract needs to be a fundamental aspect of any European Data Space. In this context, Orgalim is drafting templates of contractual clauses that will provide companies with practical assistance when drawing up contracts. This will facilitate data sharing, whereas mandatory opening-up of private sector data could hinder innovation and investment.
In a B2B context, liability issues related to data can be addressed by contracts that are freely negotiated by the two parties. Therefore, we ask policymakers to refrain from any specific legislation on data liability, respecting the companies’ freedom of contract.
Companies need legal certainty and a trusted market environment to share, transfer and access data which enables them to innovate in new data-driven business models. To that end, trade secrets and the intellectual property rights of companies need to be protected.
Orgalim shares the Commission’s objective to focus on the importance of data for the European economy as outlined in the data strategy of February 2020. We believe that an important element of the European data strategy is a focus on the strengthening of a Common European Data Space for smart manufacturing. This will require an ecosystem that enables data sharing and fosters data access in a safe and secure environment. We therefore call on the Commission to ensure that Europe’s technology industries are closely involved in its development.
As a member of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on AI, Orgalim has been core of the Commission activities on this topic. We strongly share the view that, by powering digital transformation across sectors, AI can drive economic growth while enabling new solutions to challenges in areas from energy to healthcare, to mobility, and beyond. Europe is already a leader in industrial AI, and an enabling framework for future tech development will be key to building on these strengths and securing our competitive edge in the world.
In our submission to the consultation and our AI Manifesto of January 2020, we highlighted the following key points:
We believe that the EU has a critical role to play to coordinate and promote a strong European AI investment plan, to implement well-funded industry-focused R&D programmes via the new MFF and the Recovery Plan, and to keep the Single Market free from new technical barriers to trade.
At this point there is no need for horizontal AI legislation, and regulatory sandboxes should be prioritised over the drafting of new or revised legislation.
The development and deployment of AI go hand-in-hand with ambitious data and digital infrastructure policies.
We also want to thank the Commission and all stakeholders for constructive dialogue in driving the HLEG’s agenda. As the HLEG is now coming to an end, Orgalim believes that there is a strong need to continue such a stakeholder platform. As the Commission is looking at potential next steps on AI, we need to ensure a strong stakeholder engagement process and we believe a new Expert Group would be a good way to ensure that coordination continues.
We remain engaged and committed to continue the collaboration going forward to shape a future that’s good for Europe, its citizens and its industry.