On April 10th, the ministers and representatives of all the EU member states gathered in Bruxelles for the Digital Day in order to discuss future cooperation in artificial intelligence, blockchain and e-healthcare.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and former Estonian Prime Minister, welcomed the initiative during his speech: “This year’s Digital Day is the perfect moment to recognise what we have achieved, but to also encourage EU member states to quickly move forward with the legislative proposals still on the table. We need to prepare our digital future together; we need to do more, joining forces and resources to grasp the opportunities offered by technologies.”
Regarding AI, it is urgent to take into consideration all the existing challenges: from the implementation of the legal frameworks to the impact on the labour market and the necessity to modernize the education systems. In the industrial field, the Aeroarms project aims to use semi-autonomous drones to transport instruments and for the daily checkups of oil and gas pipelines. A large-scale use of these robots can help to save 700,000 euros annually and make the inspections processes 10 times faster.
The Estonian government has been the first country in testing the Blockchain since 2008. The technology is particularly useful to ensure the security, integrity and transparency of data in delivering different kind of services thanks to a ledger held in a network across a series of nodes. The main goal of the declaration is to avoid a possible fragmented approach and to establish an European Blockchain Partnership. By the end of 2018, the member states which have signed the document will have to identify a series of existing cross-border services that would gain value from the Blockchain and define an appropriate governance model.
The third and last declaration that sees the participation of Estonia is about the project to link different genomic databases across borders. On this matter, the Estonian government is already one step forward after having launched a programme that will collect the DNA of 100,000 citizens, to provide customized health and lifestyle advice, in particular for rare diseases as cancer. The declaration aims at making one million genomes accessible in the European Union by 2022, to maximise the national and European investments in sequencing, biobanking and data infrastructure. The European Commissioner for Health and Food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed the agreement: “This initiative can boost the development of public health for the benefit of European citizens”.
The Estonian CIO Siim Sikkut signed all the declarations and remarked: “We are currently also prioritising these topics at a national level, and we feel that the cooperation with the EU and its member states can contribute to moving further with the developments in those fields.”