31 Oct 2018

German AI strategy by the end of November

Germany plans to have a final strategy, and funding plans, by the end of November to present to the public at the Digital Summit 2018 on 3-4 December. The government is currently undergoing a conduct a consultation process with experts, associations, organisations and institutions.

By David Cowan

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The Bundestag recently set up the select committee on “Artificial Intelligence – Social Responsibility and Economic Potential,” which is to put forward recommendations for dealing with AI. A new Data Ethics Committee is also to develop proposals for dealing with AI, algorithmic processes and data policy.

The Federal Cabinet has adopted the key points for a Federal Government Strategy on Artificial Intelligence. These aim to serve as a basis for ensuring Germany attains leading global excellence in the research, development and use of artificial intelligence. The use of artificial intelligence is to be developed in a responsible manner and for the good of society, with the aim of harnessing the new potential for value creation that it offers. The Cabinet submission was jointly prepared by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said, “Artificial intelligence is not just any innovation, it is an enabling technology that will change and improve our economy and our lives. This is the reason why we want applications of artificial intelligence to be developed and implemented not just anywhere in the world, but here in Germany and Europe. The key points for a Federal Government Strategy on Artificial Intelligence form the basis for this. We are signalling to companies and entrepreneurs the need for action as the key task above all is to transform our outstanding research findings into products and services and make Germany a leading global base for AI. Developing capabilities in artificial intelligence, whether it’s self-driving vehicles, use in cancer diagnosis, or in the production processes of the future, is a key task for both Germany and Europe. We will use our AI strategy to provide powerful answers on this.”

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek said, “Artificial intelligence is finding its way into our everyday lives and we want this technology to be used to help people. We are therefore placing the focus of our AI strategy on its use for the people of our country. If used in the right way, AI is a key enabler of growth and prosperity.” Germany’s research network is to be further developed by establishing centres of excellence, and to become better connected with Europe. Efforts will be made to recruit scientists in the field of AI from abroad and to ensure that working conditions are made as attractive as possible for Germany’s next generation of scientists as well. There are also plans to establish additional professorships for AI together with the Länder. In addition, new research funding schemes will be introduced, with an agency for breakthrough innovations to be set up that will deal not least with the field of artificial intelligence.

Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil said: “We want to be global leaders in enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence. When it comes to our labour policy, this also means that we need to invest just as much in skills development in our workforce as in technology. And it must also be clear that what we need is cooperation between people and machines, not competition. Only in this way can we go on to increase human productivity based on the use of the new technology. One of the tasks of the new Digital Labour Society Think Tank (Denkfabrik Digitale Arbeitsgesellschaft) will therefore be to identify good examples from around the world of people-focused applications of artificial intelligence and smart tools and systems in the working world. The focus in this work will be on the labour force – on allowing the development of skills and talents, enabling self-determination, providing security and protecting health. This is also why the consultation process, involving associations, organisations and institutions operating nationwide, as well as the social partners, that will be taking place over the next few weeks is so important to us.”

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