German Chancellor Angela Merkel has presented her strategy to bring Germany to the forefront of the global artificial intelligence industry.
Merkel’s plan, presented to the German cabinet yesterday and due for official release at a technology conference in December, will make €3 billion available for research and development in the artificial intelligence industry between now and 2025.
The primary aims of the strategy presented by Merkel are:
- To improve conditions for entrepreneurs and loosen regulations within the artificial intelligence industry;
- To prevent a “brain drain” of artificial intelligence experts; and
- To increase the free availability of public data to researchers and developers.
The automotive, healthcare and manufacturing sectors have been most deeply affected by recent developments in the artificial intelligence industry – these are also key sectors to Germany’s economy.
The “second wave” of artificial intelligence uses industrial data and statistical learning algorithms, supporting factories and supply chains, health, transport and many other fields. The “first wave” relied on automated programmes based on preset logical parameters; the predicted future “third wave” will purportedly see the artificial intelligence industry produce systems which can adapt their own programming based on new information acquisitions.
The US and China have so far been in the lead in terms of artificial intelligence development, with strong academic and industrial programmes promoting research and implementation: the Chinese government has begun putting into place a national programme to promote the artificial intelligence industry, with plans to build a €2 billion research park in Beijing. While the EU has announced its own plan to become the world leader in “ethically responsible” artificial intelligence, so far much of the world’s expertise remains centralised in the US and China.
Merkel has advocated for elevation of the German artificial intelligence industry for some time, telling an interviewer in April 2018: “We have excellence clusters in the field of artificial intelligence and here we will develop an overall strategy. There is a lot going on, but we need to accelerate our efforts once again.”