Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Tencent exec urges Europe to leave high-risk AI to the US and China

David Wallerstein, Tencent’s chief exploration officer, has suggested European companies should focus on ethical applications of artificial intelligence (AI), leaving higher-risk ones to the US and China.

Tencent Chief eXploration Officer David Wallerstein. Photo by Tencent.


Speaking at a conference in Helsinki, The Telegraph reported, Wallerstein said he was encouraging the European Union to “embrace AI and deploy it in the areas that would have a maximum benefit for human life, even if that technology isn’t competitive to take on an American or Chinese market”.

“By the time you get better at AI in Europe, the planet will have 8.5 billion people and most of the additional billion will be in the developing world. Energy is an area where there’s a huge opportunity on the planet, and it’s a huge opportunity for Europe.

“I’ve heard lots of people saying how do we catch up with China and the US in the next 15 years, but we may not have much of a planet left by then,” he said.

It’s not the first time in recent years that China speaks highly about its role in the AI scene, with a  report in 2017 showing the country’s goal to become the world leader in AI developments.

This AI race between China and the US is also producing distressing results, with AI-powered weapons being developed by both countries at an increasingly high speed.

Wallerstein’s message may be perceived as provocative by EU scientists, at a time when many European experts have left positions in the continent for salaries two to five times higher at major technology firms overseas.

To contain this AI brain drain, European scientists have started building “ELLIS” ( short for European Lab for Learning & Intelligent Systems) earlier this year,  a huge AI hub to compete with US and China.

However, heavier regulations in EU, compared to places such as China, could slow down the pace of innovation in Europe.

Face-recognition technology, for example, is already widely used by police forces in China, but that would not be possible in Europe because of privacy laws.


Co-working space and blog dedicated to all things data science.

Subscribe to our newsletter