Germany Commits €3 Billion to AI

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The days of Artificial Intelligence sounding like something from sci-fi are long gone. AI is already a part of our daily lives. Simply meaning technologies that think like people do, AI encompasses speech recognition systems like Amazon’s Alexa, ride sharing, and the notifications about fraud you get from your bank. As industry continues to find new applications for AI, the 4th Industrial Revolution based on automation and data exchange is coming to a head.

On November 16, 2018, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz presented to journalists the German government’s 80-page “Artificial Intelligence Strategy.” The strategy commits €3 billion from the German government to AI research and development before 2025. The government hopes this amount will be met by the private sector, rendering the total above €6 billion.

“Today, Germany cannot claim to be among the world leaders in artificial intelligence,” Chancellor Merkel told journalists. “Our aspiration is to make ‘Made in Germany’ a trademark also in artificial intelligence and to ensure that Germany takes its place as one of the leading [AI] countries in the world.”

This goal will be brought about chiefly by the creation of 12 Centers for AI Research, the opening of 100 professorships in AI, and the offering of extensive support for businesses and startups working with AI.

But cultural differences, namely strict views of data protection, have impeded Germany’s AI development in the past. The new strategy includes a relaxing of data protection laws, but primarily in the context of less sensitive data generated by industrial machines, not individuals’ private data.

The AI Strategy can be read in its entirety (in German) here: