Artificial intelligence for Berlin: Smart new world
Berlin is getting a center of excellence for artificial intelligence – making it one of the most important AI locations in Germany.
Berlin wants to become more intelligent, and at least the right institute for it has already been found: The “Berlin Institute for Foundhe Foundations of Learning and Data”, or Bifold for short, will in future combine two competence centers for artificial intelligence (AI). The focus is on research on data management and machine learning. “We need more scientists who are bilingual, i.e. machine learning and big data ‘speak'”, explains Klaus-Robert Müller, head of the Bifold. So far, the institutes had dealt with the issues separately.
“Personally, I am convinced that there are opportunities in AI to change the world for the better,” said Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek (CDU), on Wednesday at the launch of the project at Salzufer in Charlottenburg. She wanted to make the 1920s a “decade for education, research, and innovation”.
Germany should play a pioneering role worldwide. Karliczek believes that bifold aims to focus on research of AI systems along with ethical issues regarding it. This is how it stands out from other AI research centers.
The Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) – also Science Senator – emphasized the importance of the new location in Berlin. He believes that this competition is not just local but we have to compete on international levels. Nevertheless, he explained that it also needs an invigorating environment for scientific work. “And that is unique in Berlin.” For example, half of all nationwide AI start-ups are located here.
AI capital Berlin?
Daniel Krupka, managing director of the Gesellschaft der Informatik, sees this somewhat more differently: “I think it is a mistake to speak of a center at all. I would say there are several, and yes, Berlin is the federal capital, but I would not now call it the AI capital. Even if the Senate might want to go there. ”There are also research hotspots in the greater Stuttgart and Munich areas, for example.
Within the framework of the AI strategy decided by the federal government, six such centers at universities across the country are funded by the Federal Ministry of Research. The originally planned funding of 64 million euros for the years 2019 to 2022 has been doubled. Berlin is also funding the Bifold project, which is said to be located at the Technical University of Berlin, with 3.5 million euros and eight additional professorships.
Christian Thomsen, President of the Technical University of Berlin, emphasized on Wednesday: “It is important and right that the technological foundations of AI are researched and developed not only in large private-sector companies but also very significantly at public universities.”