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Europe’s future depends on AI! What does Google has to do with it?

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Europe’s future depends on AI! What does Google has to do with it?

Forumul Economic Regional Moldova 2024 – Vatra Dornei, 4–6 iulie

The recent Public First report on Google’s economic impact in the EU underscores the transformative potential of AI on the EU economy. It also outlines Google’s significant contribution to the European economy and its competitiveness.

No other technology holds as much promise to enhance the EU’s competitiveness as AI. According to a new report commissioned by Google and released today, generative AI could boost the size of the EU economy by 1.2 trillion Euros and save the average worker over 70 hours a year — equivalent to about two weeks of work. By enabling individuals across the EU to focus on more productive and creative tasks, AI has the capacity to accelerate economic growth and make strides in addressing social challenges.

However, for AI to benefit everyone across the EU, collaborative efforts are imperative.

Europeans have attained a high quality of life characterized by shorter working hours, paid vacations, robust labor laws, universal healthcare, and generous social welfare systems. Technology has played a crucial role in this achievement and will continue to do so. Europe’s digital decade is well underway.

Nevertheless, our way of life is evolving. Increasingly, people are grappling with social, political, and economic challenges. We are falling short on the commitments required to combat the climate crisis, witnessing growing political polarization, grappling with high inflation, unresolved energy dependence, and, notably, the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine.

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These factors are giving rise to significant social and economic challenges. However, AI can serve as a driving force in helping the EU tackle some of these issues.

Accelerating the digital transition with AI

While AI presents a transformative opportunity for Europe’s economy, ensuring that the right tools are accessible to businesses of all sizes will be crucial in maximizing its potential.

Research conducted by Public First indicates that 74% of workers across the EU believe that generative AI tools will enhance their productivity, while 79% of European businesses stated that they are likely to utilize the freed-up time to assign workers to more valuable tasks.

One way Google can contribute is by providing useful tools. The report estimates that Google’s products, platforms, and tools will generate an estimated €179 billion in economic activity in 2023 across the European Union, enabling businesses to employ over three million people.

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Furthermore, Google is actively working to democratize AI for businesses large and small. For instance, in collaboration with Google Cloud, Lufthansa has developed a tool that leverages AI to assist human operations controllers in decision-making by aggregating real-time information from around the world. Additionally, the Google for Startups: AI First Accelerator, a 10-week equity-free program for Seed to Series A startups based in Europe and Israel, supports startups developing innovative AI-enabled technology to scale their businesses towards success.

Supporting others to leverage AI

With every digital transition, we’ve observed that new skills are just as essential as access to intelligent tools. Since 2015, Google has trained over 12 million individuals across Europe in digital skills through initiatives such as the Google Career Certificates, in collaboration with governments and local communities.

Now, we are building on our extensive digital skills training to ensure that the opportunities presented by AI are accessible to all. Google.org has introduced a new Social Innovation Fund on AI, providing €10 million in funding, along with mentoring and support, to assist entrepreneurs from underserved backgrounds in developing transformative AI solutions to address the issues they encounter daily.

These skills are crucial as we prepare workforces for the AI-driven job transition — and they also contribute a €580 billion boost to the EU economy, according to Public First.

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Collaborating for progress
Innovation has always been a collaborative endeavor, and AI will be no exception. Over the years, Google has cultivated communities of researchers and academics dedicated to establishing standards and guidelines for responsible AI development. The same spirit of collective effort applies to the next phase of AI’s evolution, and we are committed to collaborating with others to ensure its responsible advancement.

Developing sound policies and responsible AI will require close coordination among governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society. We learned from the creation of the internet how crucial these discussions are. We all benefit from shared standards, protocols, and governance institutions.

This is a pivotal moment for us to accelerate our collaborative efforts. AI has the potential to help us build a better, fairer, and healthier society — and to support competitiveness and inclusive growth. It is incumbent upon all of us to make that vision a reality by working boldly, responsibly, and together.


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