Artificial Intelligence Observatory:Federal government monitors AI
The Ministry of Labor is planning an “AI observatory” to regulate artificial intelligence. She does not yet know exactly how that should work.
BERLIN taz | She is behind the automatic translation of texts and chatbots in customer service , learns as a speaking digital assistant and always causes debates: artificial intelligence (AI). The trendy term primarily means machine learning and self-learning algorithms , i.e. systems that identify patterns based on large data sets and solve problems independently.
In order to investigate the effects of technology on society and the labor market, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) has filled the first eight positions of an “AI observatory” in the think tank “Digital Labor Society ” in the BMAS. It should start this year.
In itself, AI applications are nothing new in everyday life , but apparently they are for the BMAS. It suggests that “first develop a regulatory framework for AI”, as a spokeswoman puts it. Among other things, the aim is to clarify how data protection for employees and how people can be trained. Susanne Dehmel, member of the Legal and Security Executive Board of the Bitkom industry association , is generally positive about observing the use of AI in practice.
“However, we must not put AI applications under general suspicion and assume that they will take people’s jobs away from them,” says Dehmel. According to the BMAS, 4 million jobs could be lost by mid-2035, but around 3.3 million could also be added through the cooperation between humans and AI. Scientists from Stanford University, for example, have researched how AI can make machines easier to use and create new jobs.
Just a drop in the bucket
The BMAS is planning a so-called KI-TÜV, i.e. the classification and approval of individual applications in business and working life, including in retail and finance. A “Federal Institute for AI”, which emerges from the planned “AI Observatory”, will regulate further details in the future. However, the BMAS does not yet know how to analyze and evaluate AI applications from companies that are also located abroad. You have to “work it out first”.
Jörg Bienert from the KI-Bundesverband also finds the basic idea of observing corresponding applications and their effects on the job market sensible.
This is exactly what has been lacking at the federal level. Germany wants to expand the “AI strategy” presented in November 2018, which also includes the “Observatory”, into a “leading AI location”. A total of EUR 3 billion is earmarked for this by 2025, and funding for 12 competence centers has been increased to EUR 135 million.
In international comparison, the investments are just a drop in the bucket: the Chinese company Alibaba alone wants to invest 15 billion euros in research and AI over the next three years . According to a study by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, around 3,000 people do a PhD on AI in the United States , in Germany there are just 170. And of 100 planned AI professorships in Germany, only 30 have been set up for experts from abroad to date are limited to only five years. Many German AI researchers migrate to California’s Silicon Valley.