This study looks at the state of artificial intelligence (AI) at the global and the EU levels. It does so by first giving an overview of AI history and examining the current and near future applications, trends and direction of the technology. Two case studies discuss AI and its role and potential in automotive and education sectors. The paper then focuses on the EU by first assessing the current situation. It finds that the bloc is falling behind other major economies when it comes to AI innovation, deployment and funding. The study also dissects the EU’s approach to AI, finding that the regulatory aspirations play a more important role than the creation of incentives and funding of the technology. The newly announced AI legislation does not do enough to promote innovation and private investment, and the EU’s increased tendencies towards achieving “strategic autonomy” at the expense of international cooperation could further dent the bloc’s aspiration of being at the forefront of the AI revolution. The study’s final chapter offers policy recommendations which, among others, include the need for more public investment in AI at the EU level, further promotion of higher AI education as well as adequate measures to foster AI uptake by small- and medium-sized enterprises and help the bloc’s startups scale up.