Artificial intelligence (AI) is on a winning streak. In 2005, five teams successfully completed the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition held by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to spur development of autonomous vehicles.1 In 2011, IBM’s Watson system beat out two longtime human champions to win Jeopardy! In 2016, Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo system defeated the 18-time world-champion Go player. And thanks to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa, consumers now have easy access to a variety of AI-powered virtual assistants to help manage their daily lives. The potential uses of AI to identify patterns, learn from experience, and find novel solutions to new challenges continue to grow as the technology advances. Moreover, AI is already having a major positive impact in many different sectors of the global economy and society. For example, humanitarian organizations are using intelligent chatbots to provide psychological support to Syrian refugees, and doctors are using AI to develop personalized treatments for cancer patients. Unfortunately, the benefits of AI, as well as its likely impact in the years ahead, are vastly underappreciated by policymakers and the public. Moreover, a contrary narrative—that AI raises grave concerns and warrants a precautionary regulatory approach to limit the damages it could cause—has gained prominence, even though it is both wrong and harmful to societal progress. To showcase the overwhelmingly positive impact of AI, this report provides a description of the major uses of AI as well as details on 70 real-world examples of how AI is already generating social and economic benefits. Policymakers should consider these benefits as they evaluate the steps they can take to support the development and adoption of AI.
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.