March 20, 2018

Latest News

The BrAInstorm: AI can be a force for good if the EU sets its strategy right

Burson Cohn & Wolfe BrAInstorm report: Now is the time to lay down the foundations, say European business leaders and policy makers.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is mostly a force for good, offering opportunities for business and society, according to a ground-breaking survey of attitudes towards the emerging technology.

The BrAInstorm report was published by communications, public affairs and public relations firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe in partnership with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). It surveys three groups of key opinion formers: businesses using AI, AI suppliers, and policymakers. The consensus is overwhelmingly positive, with 85% of respondents saying it is beneficial to society. Less than 2% of respondents said they were “very concerned” that AI will hamper their business success.

AI, like many new technologies, will have an effect on jobs, the report says. But there is a mixed forecast about the overall result: 34% think AI will create more jobs than it destroys, while 40% say the opposite.

John Higgins, Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Senior Advisor on digital technology, says the BrAInstorm report should address many of the popular fears about AI. “The key finding is that AI and machine learning may not be as scary as many people seem to think. Yet, 43% of businesses see AI as risky given the wide range of possible uncertainties. These results point to two broad conclusions. First, we need regular reports to capture the experience of those implementing AI. And second, we need a well-managed multi-stakeholder dialogue on AI.”

When it comes to regulation, both businesses and policymakers generally foresee more regulation in this new field of technology. However, there is a clear difference in their views: policymakers (54%) are much more likely to call for more regulation than businesses (30%). Amongst all groups, the priority policy area is civil law and justice, followed by healthcare.

Karen Massin, Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Brussels CEO, says the report can contribute to the ongoing discussions on AI and make an original addition to the field. “Nearly 60% of AI suppliers feel that end consumers are unaware of how companies use AI. Our focus is on the transformative power of these technologies. As regulators and industries develop strategies to support AI, we hope our report can help shape the debate and promote innovation in this exciting technology.”

CEPS Senior Research Fellow Andrea Renda says the BrAInstorm report shows how experts and practitioners believe that AI is here to stay. “The responses point to civil law and justice as the number one priority area for public policy: in this respect, it is aligned with the EU institutions, who are already taking actions in that domain.”

AI is broadly defined as technology that mimics human-like intelligence. Policymakers and businesses are aware of the role it can play in sustaining productivity and social cohesion. Within the EU, the European Commission set up an expert group on AI on March 9, 2018, and is expected to release a strategy on AI in April, while the European Parliament published a report on the issue in January 2017.


Download ‘The BrAInstorm: Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Report on Artificial Intelligence’

For more information, contact Tom Korman at Burson Cohn & Wolfe.