Gaia-X - Federated European Data Infrastructure

Gaia-X – Federated European Data Infrastructure

Big data and artificial intelligence are transforming how people, businesses, and governments use the information to make decisions.

Nowadays, many companies use detailed data to maximize their profits. However, much of this data is gathered in secret, without consumers’ knowledge. Unfortunately, the unethical use of data and artificial intelligence is relatively common, particularly among big American technology companies such as Google and Facebook.

Data is nonetheless critical to creating new services, products, and markets. It is one of the greatest assets any company can have for shaping innovation and economic growth in today’s digital world. It needs to be shared to accelerate innovation, strengthen competitiveness, expand market opportunities, and address societal challenges. However, artificial intelligence is increasingly important to the effective use of this data, and many questions remain about what guidelines should be set in place for this growing field.

Globally, there are three different ways to handle data and build AI-powered products.

  • USA’s approach to AI is generally “company-centric,” driven by corporations seeking individual advantages
  • China’s approach is “state-centric,” meaning any AI activity is allowed and even promoted as long as the Chinese government gets all the private data collected on its citizens.
  • the European approach to AI has been “citizen-centric,“ meaning AI is intended to help and create value for the citizens. Gaia-X is a new European approach to data infrastructure to ensure European digital sovereignty.

Gaia-x – New European Data Ecosystem

In contrast, the European approach to AI has been “citizen-centric,“ meaning AI is intended to help and create value for the citizens. Gaia-X is a new European approach to data infrastructure to ensure European digital sovereignty.

Gaia-X is a decentralized approach to data management that’s free from megacorporations and government agencies’ controlling hands. It will offer unlimited opportunities for European companies when it’s completely developed.

Gaia-X aims at creating an ecosystem in which companies and consumers alike can safely store, exchange and process their data within Europe. It’s a new digital ecosystem designed to work based on Web3 principles. Providers offer data services that meet European requirements regarding user-friendliness, security, privacy, interoperability, and sustainability. Like Amazon or Microsoft cloud, it is not a cloud provider, but rather a decentralized way of building a next-generation cloud digital economy.

Image credit “Vision and Strategy“ by Francesco Bonfiglio. You can read the report here.

Vision of Gaia-X

The Gaia-X vision is to create a “trusted European platform and ecosystem for data interoperability to connect all data types within Europe, across borders.” This is an ambitious project with the potential to deliver significant benefits in the years to come.

Maintaining Europe’s sovereignty concerning its data also means developing a robust European industry capable of providing IT infrastructure, especially cloud computing and big data analytics services. It will also create the groundwork for future products and services related to artificial intelligence that can generate value in many ways for the citizens of Europe.

Benefits of Gaia-X

Gaia-X aims to help Europe generate value ethically and transparently from the free data that people and companies collect to grow faster.

One of the main benefits of Gaia-X is that it is a neutral, open platform in Europe that connects customers, providers, and technologies while ensuring data sovereignty and security. The goal is to empower the industry with new opportunities for developing innovative AI solutions, which will put Europe at the forefront of the next generation of cloud computing.

For example, any company or entity could acquire access to a large amount of valuable data and algorithms to build AI products and services. Both the data sets and algorithms are transparent and validated, following specific ethical guidelines. Currently, there’s nothing like this available for companies in the USA, who gather their own data, which they then buy and trade from one another in a tangled web of transactions that are often kept secret. According to my analysis, the more open and transparent Gaia-X system is advantageous overall. The USA will likely try to copy the Gaia-X system in some shape or form in the future.

Gaia-X works with blockchain and smart contracts, which means every transaction can be independently validated. Ocean Protocol is a decentralized data exchange protocol that lets people share and monetize data while guaranteeing control, auditability and transparency. Ocean Protocol is one of the members of Gaia-X and builds its federation services.

Delta DAO, one of the startups working on Gaia-X services, highlights these Gaia-X benefits:

• Uses existing software as much as possible
• Is transparent and largely open-source
• No lock-in or central point of failure or control
• Sustainable business models for all participants
• Enables technical data sovereignty

In addition, DeltaDao contributes a lot to the open source codebase and working groups of Gaia-X.

How Gaia-X Got Started

Gaia-X was initiated by the German federal government and the French government in 2019 as a joint venture to shape the European digital future. In September 2020, a manifesto was signed by over 100 companies stating their support and commitment to the program. In November 2020, the German government published a draft bill on the German contribution to Gaia-X. In January 2021, the French and German governments issued a joint declaration, asserting their vision of Gaia-X as an open and sovereign ecosystem based on an open-source community model under European law.

As with any large and innovative program, Gaia-X is not without its share of controversy. Many experts have criticized the project, and some have even left the program. However, Gaia-X is the only real proposal for the next-level cloud infrastructure in Europe. Moreover, a substantial community of startups and companies are working to make Gaia-X a success.

How Gaia-X Works

The Gaia-X Federation brings together operators of digital infrastructures, such as cloud service providers, network service providers, and storage service providers. The Federation also includes those who use these infrastructures – software developers or application providers who create new business models for end-users.

How to Start Learning or Working With Gaia-X

More than 425 European companies and organizations currently participate in Gaia-X. One of the best ways to keep up to date with recent developments is following the coming Gaia-X events here. You can also learn about the program by following their Twitter or LinkedIn updates.

Suppose you already know the basics of how Web3 applications work and have Metamask wallet installed. In that case, you can use the Gaia-X demo portal Metamask is a non-custodial wallet, which means only you control your private keys.

The German-based Web3 startup DeltaDao provides an excellent tutorial with practical steps to start.

I see Gaia-X as a tremendous opportunity for the European economy and company, and we should quickly develop more startups dedicated to industry-specific Gaia-X services.

Data by itself is a very general term. I presume you are talking about the increase in the amount of data collected and used, i.e. big data.

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Copyright 2022 All rights reserved.