Germany gets ready for AI.

On February 5 and 7, 2019, the German Federal Government answered so-called small requests in the parliament about its strategy for artificial intelligence (AI). This strategy was presented to the public at the Digital Summit on December 3 and 4, 2018 in Nuremberg and is characterized by the mission statement of establishing Germany as the market leader for "AI - Made in Germany".

In summary, the Federal Government is striving to secure Germany as a research location, to expand the competitiveness of the economy and to promote the diverse application possibilities of AI in all areas. This should be done in the interest of a noticeable social progress and in the interest of the citizens. The key areas of action include strengthening research in Germany and Europe, accelerating the transfer of research results to industry, promoting the establishment of companies, attracting skilled workers and experts, creating good conditions for the use of AI, shaping the necessary structural change in the world of work and the labour market, and promoting dialogue in society on AI. For the implementation of the strategy, the Federal Government intends to make available an amount of approximately three billion euros up to and including the year 2025.

In its answers to the small requests of the parliament, the Federal Government has now specified its further course of action. Initially, it pointed out which steps have already been implemented. These include, for instance, measures for 

  • the further development of AI competence centres, and 
  • the development of applications to protect consumers and their privacy. 

The next measures planned include 

  • the establishment of the German AI Observatory, 
  • the expansion of AI-specific support for medium-sized enterprises, 
  • the further development and networking of AI competence centres, and 
  • a programme to promote young scientists.

The Federal Government has also explained the work of the "Learning Systems Platform" in more detail. Moreover, it announced to incorporate the results of the Data Ethics Commission, which happen to be presented in autumn 2019, into the further implementation of the strategy. As soon as progress and results from the current activities are available, the Federal Government intends to expand on activities on the AI strategy after the year 2025.

In view of the high relevance that AI has and will have in the future (in Germany, but of course not limited to it), it is important to deal with the potential impact of AI to the legal practice. As diverse as the application possibilities for AI are, as diverse are the associated legal questions. They concern not only the protection of AI from the perspective of intellectual property law, but also, for example, issues of liability law and insurance law. Therefore, it will be important for legal advice to adapt to the technological developments in all areas of law affected by AI.

For more information on AI, visit our ‘AI’ hub which explores the rapidly developing technology and how it intersects with regulation and the law.

In Co-Authorship with Dr. Fabian Kunkel, Trainee Lawyer