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EU Digital Chief Neelie Kroes Calls for Deeper Probe of Robotics Impact Amid SPARC Partnership Launch

Neelie Kroes
Neelie Kroes

Europe has formally launched a robotics research initiative that aims to move forward with the technology through private-public sector partnerships, GigaOm reported Tuesday.

David Meyer writes the $3.8 billion program called SPARC seeks to put the region in the lead in robotics development through projects European Union officials said would open up jobs and spur the economy.

The report cited Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EU Commission leading the Digital Agenda for Europe, who noted a number of use cases in industry, healthcare and defense in a speech earlier this week.

The official also touched on the fear of automatons “stealing” human jobs, and voiced the need for a deeper probe into the impact of robotics.

“Even with an overall positive impact on jobs, there will be different short and long-term implications, and different impacts in different areas,” Kroes said, adding.

“We need a stronger evidence base to show the case, confront these issues, clear up the uncertainty and mistrust. Let’s understand the concerns and address them.”

According to the report, the SPARC partnership will draw funding from the European Commission and the European Robotics Association comprised of board members from the industry and research fields.

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