Researchers and engineers of the 21st century have produced technologies that might deeply change our way of life. There is Blockchain which could revolutionise the trust between people and the financial sector, Internet of Things that can allow machines to communicate with each other to provide better services, and Artificial Intelligence that assigns machines with the ability to “think” and empowers them to make decisions by themselves. The intersection between technological development and society – understood as economic activities, social habits, politics, political institutions, etc. – has always been a delicate issue in human history. It can generate both wealth and poverty, wars and peace or illnesses and health. It all depends on how we use technology and how prepared we are to accept changes and to adapt to them. Artificial Intelligence fits all previous scenarios and it generates highly concern among regular people. Therefore, in this paper, I will try to answer the following research question: does artificial intelligence have the potential to create more inequality in the European Union? In the first phase of this endeavour, I will analyse the AI’s state of the art to see the most recent achievements in the field, its area of implementation and the potential it could achieve. Secondly, by using the concept of digital divide, I will try to figure out what are the mechanisms of this new technology that could create more inequality. Digital divide focuses on the possibility that people would become even more marginalized due to the lack of basic skills and the impossibility to afford new technologies available on the market. Then, my case study will focus on the European Union, which is one of the three main global actors in the field. Because AI is still an emerging technology, I will focus on AI strategies of the EU member states in order to emphasise possible future cleavages.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, digital divide, European Union, inequality, machine learning