Artificial Intelligence: eco Association Cautions Against an Innovation Standstill

  • eco critical of EU Commission’s AI White Paper
  • In its motion, the German federal government must bear in mind negative consequences for research and companies
  • Association demands more transparency and a societal debate on how to deal with AI

eco – Association of the Internet Industry warns of an imminent innovation freeze in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as of too high regulatory requirements for companies and research. “The German Bundestag must not treat artificial intelligence as a regulatory problem; or else research and technological innovations in this area will be massively impaired – the legislature should therefore refrain from blanket ex-ante regulation,” says eco Chair of the Board Oliver J. Süme. “Otherwise, Germany will not succeed in exploiting the opportunities and potential offered by artificial intelligence as a key technology and innovation driver, and in making it usable for everyone.”

Background: This week, the German Bundestag intends to pass a motion on the “Future Technology Artificial Intelligence”, which will include a statement on the European Commission’s AI White Paper. In February of this year, the EU Commission announced stronger regulations in its AI White Paper; a corresponding legislative package is to follow in 2021.

eco Association’s own statement on the AI White Paper can be found here. In this statement, eco also makes it clear that more transparency, digital education, and a societal debate about fundamental business principles, rights of state intervention and societal actions are urgently needed for greater acceptance of artificial intelligence.

“For a trustworthy use of artificial intelligence, the respective algorithms must be of high quality,” eco’s Chair of the Board goes on to say. “However, this can only be achieved through innovative research and development processes, which should not be held back by rigid and excessive regulation.”

The potential that artificial intelligence could have for the economy in Germany alone is demonstrated in a joint study published at the end of last year by the eco Association and Arthur D. Little, supported by the Vodafone Institute. If AI is deployed nationwide, gross domestic product could grow by more than 13 percent by 2025, representing a total potential of around 488 billion Euro. Those sectors standing to benefit the most are Retail & Consumer Goods, as well as the Energy, Environment & Chemicals sector.


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