In Case You Missed It: AI, AI, and more AI!

Welcome toICYMI– a weekly snapshot of European news stories that have given me pause for thought. ICYMI is a chance for you to go beyond the front-page headlines and find out what other stories may be worthy of your attention.

Last Tuesday was the 35th birthday of the World Wide Web. And how incredible it is to think that what started as a ‘simple’ idea for an information sharing system quickly turned into one of the most important developments for the modern world. Have a read of this interesting anniversary interview with CNBC, in which Berners-Lee shares his predictions for the future of the web – and how it will be transformed by artificial intelligence.

It wouldn’t be a predictions article of course, without referring to AI. And sure enough, Berners-Lee’s future does include personal AI assistants that know our health status and legal history inside out; and the ability to transfer your data from one place to another seamlessly without any roadblocks. By his own admission though, there is still a way to go on that ‘AI future’ and plenty of fundamentals still to be set.

Some of those fundamentals were thrown into light in this interview with Mira Murati, Sora’s CTO last week. Sora is OpenAI’s new text-to-video AI model and while it can certainly do great things, it was interesting to see how awkwardly Murati ducked questions about how the model was trained… 

MEPs adopt historic AI regulation

With the media flooded with news and stories on AI right now, one thing we’re always doing is keeping an eye out for those moments and happenings that give our clients a chance to share insightful thoughts and comments. The regulatory calendar is often helpful there, and last week did not disappoint. In case you missed it, the European Parliament has approved the long-awaited AI Act. Though the legislation is pending final adoption, it will have a significant effect the world over. It’s an important milestone and aims to protect EU citizens from potential abuses while preserving fundamental values and allowing responsible innovation. Grand ambitions!

The Dutch get a warning from Google on AI

In other AI news, Google last week warned the Netherlands that it risks lagging behind on AI. According to Google’s research, the Netherlands is facing a shortage of AI experts, trailing behind in research efforts, and offering limited support for AI startups. In research aiming to understand the impact AI is going to have on the Dutch labour market, one of the main findings was that two-thirds of all jobs in the Netherlands could involve AI in the coming years, but only 38% of respondents believe AI will have a positive impact on their work. While we don’t know how other countries would have fared in the same research, that ‘skills gap’ is certainly an interesting angle to consider.

Are journalists reporting on or in fact feeding the AI hype?

And finally to sign off this week’s AI-heavy roundup, I’d recommend sparing a couple of minutes to read a piece from BBC Tech Reporter David Silverberg on the role that journalists play in the age of AI. Are they simply reporting on the news, or are they contributing to the direction we’re going in? For those of us who are regularly approaching journalists with AI stories, the message for me is clear – keep it real. Easier said than done you may think (especially given the nature of AI!) but yes, helping journalists find the real stories, the real developments, the real people working on this technology would, it seems, certainly help, as the media grapples with the challenges of trying to cut through the hype, the scare stories and the same-old-same-old industry narratives.