The world is at risk of falling behind Chinese A.I., says Goldman’s Barroso

  • The former president of the European Commission says more investment is needed in AI.
  • Jose Manuel Barroso now works as the non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs International.
  • Barroso said China was getting on with AI development while Europe lacked co-ordination.
Horacio Villalobos - Corbis | Getty Images | Getty Images News

The world could fall behind China when it comes to developing artificial intelligence (AI), the former president of the European Commission warned Monday.

Jose Manuel Barroso, now non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs International, told CNBC's Arjun Kharpal that Beijing is getting on with development in AI.

"The Chinese are not only making statements, they are investing money," he said at the AI Deep Dive in partnership with Feedzai at Money2020.

Barroso added that his sentiment was not negative toward China and that, in the main, Chinese-led science would benefit the world.

The Goldman employee said Europe, in particular, "should not be naive" and must defend itself by ensuring that more money is committed to AI development.

He said there was evidence that this was happening with European countries that are net contributors to Brussels being asked to provide 100 billion euros ($117 billion) over the next seven years to scientific research.

Barroso said Goldman Sachs itself was heavily increasing investment in AI and, at times, it felt like there were more software engineers than financiers within the company.

On data privacy, Barroso said a "revolution" was going on after the Facebook data scandal and that stronger regulation was set to come in globally.

Alongside London-based elections consultancy Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is at the center of an ongoing dispute over the alleged harvesting and use of personal data.

"I don't believe that our democracies will accept their private data not to be protected," Barroso said.