- Demand for AI services is high: 71 per cent of AI companies are focusing on the development and use of language models
- More than 80 per cent of the experts surveyed recommend building a German AI ecosystem
- Study by the LEAM Initiative develops a concept for building a German AI supercomputing infrastructure
ChatGPT is amazing technology enthusiasts worldwide. The US-American multi-talent writes texts of all kinds and provides answers to complex questions. Companies in Germany and Europe also want to enter the market with new and intelligent AI applications. But the necessary open-source models, training data and sufficient computing infrastructures are lacking in this country. The feasibility study* “Large AI Models for Germany” calculates what conditions are needed to make Germany a technology pioneer. The Large European AI Models initiative, LEAM for short, presented the study on 24 January 2023.
More than 80 per cent of the experts surveyed in the study recommend building an AI ecosystem and developing basic AI models based on European values. Currently, the basic AI models that companies need to develop AI applications come largely from the USA and China. This poses major challenges for European companies because, for example, access to proprietary services is more difficult, and data is not processed in a GDPR-compliant manner. “To ensure competitiveness and reduce dependencies, Germany needs its own basic AI models,” says Andreas Weiss, Head of Digital Business Models at eco – Association of the Internet Industry. To this end, the LEAM Initiative study now presents a concept for building a dedicated AI supercomputing infrastructure.
The need for language models is particularly great
Currently, 71 per cent of German AI companies focus on large language models. Multimodal AI models (38%) and AI models for calculating business and manufacturing processes (34%) are also relevant for the economy. Basic AI models bring the next development in the success story of artificial intelligence. Around two-thirds of German AI companies are already working with basic AI models. “In the next few years, even more performant models will come onto the market that are trained with larger data sets,” says Weiss.
Germany needs a powerful AI computing infrastructure
A prerequisite for the development of AI foundation models is access to a powerful computing infrastructure. The establishment of an AI data centre is feasible in terms of hardware and software, according to the authors of the study, who include eco – Association of the Internet Industry. They calculate around 380 million Euro for the construction and operation of such an AI data centre and have developed a model that includes public and private sector funding. Free open-source models and available data for training the algorithms were named as further prerequisites by 58 per cent of the experts surveyed.
The LEAM initiative advises integrating different values and principles in the development of basic AI models. This includes data protection and data security, transparency, fairness and high data quality. The aim is to create trustworthy basic AI models that offer broad application possibilities.
The feasibility study “Large AI Models for Germany” was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The topic is now to be advanced in an exchange with politicians, the business community and potential users. The LEAM initiative recommends the establishment of a project development company to build up the infrastructure and services.
About the authors of the study
The LEAM feasibility study was written in cooperation with the following partners: Alexander Thamm GmbH, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), eco – Association of the Internet Industry, Fieldfisher LLP, Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS), Merantix Momentum GmbH, Simmons & Simmons and Ubermetrics Technologies GmbH. The overall project management was the responsibility of the KI Bundesverband e.V., which initiated the LEAM Initiative 2021. In it, various partners from industry and research are driving forward the development of large AI models.
An English summary of the study will be available soon here.
The full German-language study can be downloaded here.