eco on the German AI Strategy Update: “Important Signal for Innovation”

With the update of the German federal government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) 2018 Strategy, which was adopted by the Federal Cabinet today, the responsible ministries have set themselves goals not just for the coming years, but also probably for far beyond the current legislative term. By 2025, the federal government’s investment in AI is to be increased from three to five billion Euro, with the latter to be derived from the stimulus package funds. eco – Association of the Internet Industry welcomes the efforts of the federal government to promote innovations in the technology field of artificial intelligence and to anchor these for the long-term in the economy and society.

“Today, the German federal government has sent an important signal regarding AI research and has thereby laid the foundation for the digital innovations of the future,” says eco Chair of the Board, Oliver Süme. “AI will change the way we live and work and thus positively and sustainably transform our society as a whole. Despite all the challenges that the Corona pandemic is currently presenting us with, our goal of making Germany the most attractive AI research location in the world must not be put on hold for the time being – or even be lost sight of.” The eco Chair therefore welcomes the fact that, with the new plans, the transfer into the industry is now also gaining strength as a topic; the original strategy did not contain much concrete information in this regard. Along these lines, the integration of AI into funding programmes and hubs represents real progress.

eco also positively assesses the approach to the regulation of artificial intelligence, which according to the AI strategy is to be based primarily on standardisation and norms and which refrains from pre-emptive ex-ante regulation. “A hasty blanket regulation of artificial intelligence would not help the industry.”

By contrast, clear rules of authorisation for certain solutions or application purposes can give an enormous boost to the economy and actually help to leverage the massive potential of AI. In this context, the pending Data Strategy of the German federal government will also play a decisive role, and eco eagerly awaits its publication. It remains unclear how the federal government will act with regard to AI regulation within the EU. “Here, the federal government must clearly prioritise and also set its priorities in European AI development, so that the AI strategy does not simply remain as just a wish list,” urges Süme.

eco study highlights AI potential

A joint study published at the end of last year by the eco association and Arthur D. Little, supported by the Vodafone Institute, also reveals the potential that artificial intelligence could have for the German economy alone. If AI were to be used nationwide in Germany, this would enable a growth in gross domestic product of more than 13 percent by 2025 – corresponding to a total potential of around 488 billion Euro.


Oliver Süme