I submitted Cisco’s response to the European Commission’s consultation on Artificial Intelligence this month.  The Commission’s goal to create an ecosystem of excellence for AI in Europe but also one of trust is welcome and I look forward to Cisco continuing to feed into the Commission’s thinking as ideas are developed further.

It’s a cliché to say that Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) promise huge potential.  These technologies are already being seen in homes and businesses across Europe and will play an ever-greater role in the years ahead. Just this year, Cisco launched its new AI-powered Webex assistant to make virtual meetings more effective.  We’re constantly evolving our AI-enabled offers which also include using AI to enhance the security of data travelling over our networks.

The EU is in a strong position to develop further as a global hub for the development, deployment and use of trustworthy AI.  Long-term success of AI in the EU and around the world will depend on ensuring the right blend of promotion of AI development through investing in R&D, innovation and skills, stimulating demand in the private and the public sectors and using existing and additional measures to drive up confidence and trust in the technology.


Writing our White Paper response brought up so many important areas for businesses and policy makers to focus on.  Here are some of the principles we called out in our response that we think should be top of mind as the Commission considers how to take this work forward:

  • Europe should not only have an ambition to be a hub for AI research and development but also its commercialisation and deployment.Unlocking the benefits of AI for public services and businesses should be the focal point.  And we must take the opportunity of Europe’s diversity to ensure those benefits can be felt in an inclusive way across the continent.
  • Europe has an opportunity to build on the ‘ecosystem of trust’ talked about in the Commission’s White Paper to give people confidence in the technology and to use that as a platform to allow AI businesses in Europe to grow. Trust, respect for human rights, promoting inclusion and tackling discrimination need to be cornerstones for AI product development. Cyber security needs to be top of mind for the networks and systems that AI runs on and the supply chains that feed into AI development.
  • Any new regulation needs to support those twin goals – promoting AI growth and promoting trust in the technology.Clarifying what existing rules apply to AI should be a priority and any new legislation needs to be targeted on high-risk applications and ensure it doesn’t unnecessarily weigh down innovations that could bring genuine benefits to EU citizens.
  • Collaboration is king: AI, more than any other technology, is the fruit of collaboration between businesses, researchers, universities and many other organisations.Fostering the growth of that collaborative ecosystem in Europe will be important.  AI is also a global technology collaboration will be so important with other regions to create global centres of AI excellence and a global consistency in any new rules designed to guide AI’s development and use.

Cisco looks forward to working with the European Commission, Parliament and Council on this important agenda going forward.


Matt Houlihan

Public Policy Director

Government Affairs