Blockchain and AI in the EU to benefit from publicly available data

blockchain and ai
© iStock/Iaremenko

The Council of the EU has adopted new rules facilitating the use of public sector data in blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects.

The updated rules, aimed at promoting digital innovation across the EU, make publicly funded data – such as publicly held research datasets and real time dynamic data on weather and transport – available either free of charge or at low cost for use as raw material in advanced disruptive technologies, including blockchain and AI.

Alexandru Petrescu, Romania’s Minister for Communications and the Information Society and President of the Council of the EU, said: “These rules are a real enabler for artificial intelligence and will help Europe to become a world leader in this crucial area. They will bolster the EU digital industry, especially smaller companies and start-ups, which would not otherwise have access to all the data they need to innovate and expand.”

Six categories of ‘high value’ datasets, which will be made widely available through an application programming interface, have been identified:

  • Geospatial data;
  • Statistics;
  • Meteorological trends and figures;
  • Data concerning transport and mobility;
  • Environmental and earth observation data; and
  • Information on companies and company ownership.

By making public sector data more readily available in its raw form the Council expects to stimulate the EU’s data economy, as well as contributing to job creation in the data and technologies sectors; and accelerating the development of a ‘data-based society’. The updated EU Directive on open data and the reuse of public sector information is to be incorporated into the national legislation of Member States within the next two years, says: “Public sector information represents an extraordinary source of data that can contribute to improving the internal market and to the development of new applications for consumers and legal entities. Intelligent data usage, including their processing through artificial intelligence applications, can have a transformative effect on all sectors of the economy.”

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