09.09.20

Webinar: How can AI power the green transition?

Event
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Context

Following the EU’s presentation of its flagship European Green Deal suite of policy initiatives in December in 2019, a significant talking point has been around how Artificial Intelligence can be utilised in this green and digital transition, not only for businesses and institutions, but also for consumers. On 17 September, Euroconsumers held a seminar: How can AI power the green transition for consumers? The key points of discussion were how consumers, consumer organisations, market players and public authorities could all benefit from using AI for the green and digital transition. What needs to be done to build the necessary trust between consumers and AI in order to reap the benefits of it was also discussed. 

The webinar was moderated by  Alberto Alemanno (Prof. at HEC Paris), with Lucilla Sioli (Director of AI and Digital Industry DG CNECT, ECom), Ibán García Del Blanco (Member of the European Parliament (S&D/ES)), Stefano Quintarelli (Member of the AI High Level Expert Group, European Commission), Diego Ciulli (Public Policy Manager, Google) and Els Bruggeman (Head of Policy and Enforcement, Euroconsumers) as panelists. 

The main takeaways from the discussion were: 

  1. AI is already everywhere and shaping our everyday lives - consumers already use AI every day, for online shopping, checking emails, searching the Internet etc.; we already rely on AI much more than we realise. This is especially so as a result of  the coronavirus pandemic, where consumers have shown an increased dependency -  and recognise the importance - of all things digital. It will soon permeate across all industries and environments and is increasingly becoming the norm   in how consumers use computers. 

  2. Trust - in order for AI to become an indispensable tool  to guide consumers through  the green transition, there has to be a clear indication of trust from the consumer. Consumers certainly recognise the potential of AI, (a survey conducted by Euroconsumers showed 42% of consumers think AI can help us achieve a sustainable environment), but none of the potential will be realised without complete consumer trust in its safe and secure application. 

  3. Digital Literacy - Consumers need greater digital literacy to begin to build that framework of trust with AI applications. Consumers need to be informed, and there must be a clear plan for a fully digital society, and allow consumers to have the appropriate  digital skills and literacy to understand and use AI. 

  4. Consumers should be on board of AI  - The combination of trust and sufficient digital literacy will not only help consumers understand AI, but also encourage them to come on board with AI facilitating the green and digital transition. We need to put robust frameworks in place to make sure AI can deliver ambitious sustainability goals, whilst also respecting rights, guaranteeing privacy, consumer protection and strong governance. This will create a basis on which consumers can start to feel more comfortable in sharing data, receiving advice and taking up the new services and ways of consuming needed to bring about the sustainability transition. With consumers at the centre, more AI can work at its full potential and power an economy and society that will work for the future and be #ApprovedByTomorrow. Watch the webinar here