Thought leaders from the AI industry shared ideas and predictions on the present and future of artificial intelligence at the DLA Piper European Technology Summit last month. I had the pleasure of moderating the AI panel – “Applying the laws of man or the laws of Asimov – future regulation for AI”. It featured Luisella Giani from Oracle, Alessandro Mantelero from the Council of Europe, Uljan Sharka from iGenius and Ed Thomas from GlobalData.

Here are my personal top five takeaways:

1. The term AI sounds negative and in some ways unrealistic

We are still far from the time of robots chasing us like in the movie I, Robot. And according to Luisella Giani, AI often sounds more like a prediction of a mythical future than a reality. The word “artificial”, then, implies that something is a cheap imitation of the genuine article, designed to deceive others. At the same time, intelligence is a lousy word. How do we determine that something is intelligent? She prefers to use either machine learning or cognitive computing – or just computers.

2. AI will be essential for the survival of any business

Apart from discussions on the scope of artificial intelligence, there was agreement that AI will impact all industries. According to Ed Thomas, GlobalData identified seven AI technologies, including machine learning, data science, conversational platforms, computer vision, AI chips, smart robots, and context-aware computing. AI is already disrupting every industry and, over the next few years, will become essential to the survival of businesses of all types. Those companies who overlook AI risk stagnation or elimination.

3. Companies need to have a well-defined AI strategy

It is not too early for an AI strategy, and many businesses already use artificial intelligence. Uljan Sharka believes that companies should focus on applied AI and real problems. They should not outsource everything but build basic internal skills and work with partners that do not conflict with their products and services, now and potentially in the future.

4. Regulations will help the growth of artificial intelligence and will not be a disadvantage for EU entities

Alessandro Mantelero is confident that the European regulatory framework on artificial intelligence will not hinder EU companies from growing in the AI market, by representing a competitive disadvantage over their non-EU competitors. A well-established legal and ethical framework will create trust around AI products and services, which will encourage their adoption by users. Moreover, several non-EU regulators are creating legislation that is very similar to the GDPR.

5. We need to “educate” companies and regulators on artificial intelligence

Both companies and regulators need to be educated on artificial intelligence. Companies need to understand the real value of AI for their business, how their model of business is going to change with AI, and how to better exploit it. At the same time, regulators need to look at artificial intelligence as an essential component of the business of companies. The rights of individuals need to be balanced with the needs of business.

I enjoyed the AI panel, it was a great event, and we are already working on the next DLA Piper European Technology Summit!