Platform supports German Federal Government’s AI strategy

The international artificial intelligence (AI) race is well under way. With the help of a national AI strategy, the German Federal Government aims to pool the country’s resources and make it the world’s leading AI location. Last week, the Federal Cabinet agreed the cornerstones of the German artificial intelligence strategy. Plattform Lernende Systeme – Germany’s platform for artificial intelligence – will support the further development and implementation of the AI strategy.

The Federal Government hopes these cornerstones will bring German-based research, development and utilisation of artificial intelligence up to the highest international level. Artificial intelligence is to be used responsibly and driven forward for the benefit of society, and new value creation potential is to be developed. Implementing the AI strategy throws up a range of ethical, legal and technical questions that no single player can answer alone. The Federal Government therefore plans to use Plattform Lernende Systeme to enable interaction between the spheres of politics, science, business and society. The approximately 200 experts involved in the platform will contribute recommendations for action and application scenarios to the public debate and thereby highlight the benefits and challenges of using AI.

An overview of the key points:

Expanding research, promoting innovation

One of the cornerstones of the AI strategy is expanding research. The Federal Government intends to use centres of excellence to broaden the AI research landscape in Germany and network these with existing institutions to form a national research consortium as well as establishing links to European partners. New forms of research funding are also being established, including setting up an agency for springboard innovations that will also cover the subject of artificial intelligence.

Improving knowledge transfer, supporting SMEs

Scientific findings must be turned into concrete AI applications more quickly. Test fields and model trials, regional clusters and continuous monitoring of the AI landscape will provide a faster stream of research findings into business operations. SMEs in particular will benefit from improved access to AI technologies and receive help and support in using AI.

Boosting training, winning skilled workers

Germany aims to become an attractive location for the best scientists in the field of AI. To this end, working conditions for young staff and remuneration for scientists are to be improved. The Federal Government intends to work with regional governments to establish additional professorships in AI. Basic knowledge of AI should not remain solely in the computer studies curriculum , but should instead be extended to other university and vocational courses.

Shaping how work is changing

AI is set to revolutionise how we work. The Federal Government plans to work with the EU, OECD and International Labour Organisation (ILO) to shape this structural change. Companies should create space in their operations for experimenting with AI applications, and operational co-determination in introducing AI should be developed further.  HR officers, staff councils and works councils must also be trained to handle the transformation of the working world, for example in future centres for building up skills.

AI for state tasks

The cornerstone paper sees public administration as a key area of application for AIs. The Federal Government intends to take a pioneering role in the secure, transparent and non-discriminatory use of AI.

Using data and providing access

Data held by public authorities are to be increasingly opened up for AI research. A public-private data pool will enable data cooperation between state bodies and private business. The Federal Government plans to increase the volume of usable data without revealing personal information or corporate expertise. Anti-trust and copyright legislation, for example, will be adapted accordingly.

The way ahead

The cornerstones were presented jointly to the Cabinet by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. They form the foundations of the artificial intelligence strategy that will be drawn up over the next few months. In the next few weeks, the Federal Government will thus conduct a consultation exercise with organisations, associations and institutions that operate nationally and hold expert workshops and specialist forums. Members of Plattform Lernende Systeme will be involved in this process. The strategy will then be presented at the digital summit on 3 and 4 December 2018.

The cornerstones of the Federal Government’s AI strategy are described in detail here.

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