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Germany’s Education and Research Minister Unveils AI Action Plan to Revive Economy

In this post:

  • Germany’s AI Action Plan aims to boost the economy through innovation.
  • AI initiatives are crucial for economic recovery and global competitiveness.
  • Minister Stark-Watzinger emphasizes research, infrastructure, and AI competence.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Germany’s Minister of Education and Research, has revealed an AI Action Plan to advance artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives to boost the nation’s struggling economy. The plan was presented during a closed-door meeting of the ruling coalition cabinet, consisting of the Social Democrat (SDP), Green, and Free Democrat (FDP) parties, held at Schloss Meseberg near Berlin. The meeting focused on strategies to expedite economic recovery, with Stark-Watzinger’s AI Action Plan taking center stage.

Empowering the AI landscape

Stark-Watzinger views AI as a pivotal catalyst for Germany’s economic rejuvenation. The AI Action Plan is a revised version of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF) contribution to the federal government’s overarching AI Strategy, unveiled in 2018. This strategy committed €5 billion (US$5.4 billion) to AI implementation by 2025, underscoring Germany’s commitment to AI advancement.

“Through our AI Action Plan, we intend to invigorate the AI ecosystem to embrace new developments swiftly,” Stark-Watzinger explained before the meeting. “Our goal is to position Germany and Europe as frontrunners in an AI-driven world.”

To realize this ambition, an investment exceeding €1.6 billion has been earmarked for the current term in office.

Addressing key aspects

Stark-Watzinger’s action plan prioritizes eleven key areas, including bolstering research foundations and shaping research agendas for novel perspectives. The plan also emphasizes enhancing AI infrastructure, particularly computer infrastructure, while cultivating expertise in the AI domain. Further attention is directed towards researching AI-based technologies in education, translating AI research into economic prospects, and harnessing AI’s potential in the healthcare sector.

Currently, the BMBF is actively engaged in 50 ongoing initiatives encompassing research, skill development, infrastructure enhancement, and the application of AI research outcomes across industries and society.

Building AI competence

The AI Action Plan asserts, “We are establishing a robust AI competence base, consisting of six AI competence centers and 150 additional AI professorships as a strong foundation.”

Stark-Watzinger’s initiatives extend to forming junior scientist groups led by accomplished natural scientists to explore topical AI research areas. Additionally, a funding program named ‘Zukunft eHealth’ aims to attract STEM researchers to explore the intersection of information technology, communication, medicine, and life sciences.

Further objectives include bolstering supercomputing capabilities to support science and research opening access to the broader AI scientific community, including SMEs and startups. A research network focusing on “neurobiologically inspired AI” is also slated for establishment, alongside endeavors to foster greater networking at the European level.

Critique and counterpoints

However, not all voices are in harmony with Stark-Watzinger’s plan. Bavaria’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Judith Gerlach, a member of the opposition Christian Social Union, has criticized the plan for being inadequate and vague. Gerlach asserts that Germany’s AI efforts fall short in global competition, highlighting the need for a more substantial approach akin to Bavaria’s €5.5 billion AI development initiative.

Gerlach points to perceived inadequacies in implementing AI applications within industries and laments Germany’s position in AI startups. Bavaria’s initiative, including the ‘KI Transfer Plus program, actively supports SMEs in integrating AI into their operations.

Challenges and ambitions

As Germany grapples with concerns of deindustrialization and companies seeking opportunities abroad, the economy’s recovery remains a key concern. Public satisfaction with the government’s performance has dwindled, and economic issues have overshadowed climate-related matters.

At the Meseberg meeting, the coalition cabinet agreed on greater utilization of AI in public administration. However, discussions on reducing industry electricity costs, a critical economic challenge, did not yield a consensus.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger’s unveiling of the AI Action Plan signifies a determined effort to reignite Germany’s economy through AI-driven innovation. As the government navigates challenges and criticisms, it aims to tap into the full potential of AI for economic recovery and global competitiveness. Balancing the demands of various stakeholders, Germany’s path forward involves revitalizing its economic landscape and ensuring it remains at the forefront of AI advancements on the world stage.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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