Some consider it the “magic formula of progress”, others warn against new forms of surveillance or warfare, for others it is simply the next level of digitization: What is certain is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in many areas of the economy and society Will change in the near future – and has already changed.
Even parked cars and voice assistants are already using AI, but machines also calculate everyday things such as purchase suggestions in online shops or playlists in streaming services based on previous purchase and usage behavior. But artificial intelligence does not mean that computers think for themselves. Rather, they recognize patterns based on data, learn from them and ideally solve problems.
In order to better understand the economic, social and ecological potential of the new technology and to be able to assess the opportunities and risks, the Bundestag set up the “Artificial Intelligence” commission of inquiry two years ago. At the end of September she presented the first results, and on Wednesday she handed over the more than 800-page final report to Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble.
19 MPs and 19 experts worked on the report
The CDU politician spoke of an “important impetus for parliament”. Schäuble now hopes that the results and recommendations of the experts will find their way into the work of the parliamentary groups. 19 MPs from all political groups and 19 external experts collaborated on the report, which is committed to “human-centered AI”. Among them was the renowned robotics professor at the Technical University of Munich, Sami Haddadin.
In six project groups such as “Artificial Intelligence and Economy” or “Artificial Intelligence and Health”, the MPs and the experts discussed and documented the status quo, advantages, disadvantages and the challenges of AI. Above all, it is important to the Commission that the change in values due to the new technology is democratically shaped. The chapters therefore also contain recommendations for action.
Asian and US actors are still determining the development
The “AI and Economy” project group states that a national AI strategy is necessary, which, in the sense of “AI made in Germany”, must be combined with high-quality applications and services. However, Germany cannot develop a set of values for AI systems alone, but only together with the twelve European partners.
The aim must be for Germany and Europe to be influential here and to influence international developments that are currently dominated by Asian and US corporations and institutions.
In the report, the experts express their wish that Germany and Europe should differentiate themselves positively from the strongly market-oriented approach of Silicon Valley. They are optimistic that this can succeed, as this claim has already been implemented internationally in other fields, such as data protection. The key to economic success is that users trust AI technology.
AI is designed to reduce dangerous, heavy, and repetitive work
With regard to the highly sensitive area of health data, on which researchers and drug manufacturers have great hopes, the “AI and Health” project group recommends that patients should be given the opportunity to voluntarily make their data available to research.
Furthermore, the use of AI in nursing should primarily aim to create freedom for nursing staff for core nursing activities and human attention. Therefore, AI applications should be used for simple and routine activities. The commission assumes that artificial intelligence will reduce dangerous, physically difficult and repetitive work overall.
The lobby association of the digital economy praises the “mammoth work”
For Sören Bartol, the deputy head of the Bundestag SPD, the final report shows that there is no need to fear artificial intelligence. In the corona pandemic in particular, you can experience what AI can do: “It enables outbreak predictions and preventive containment, infection tracking and improved and faster laboratory diagnostics.” But even in the future, intelligent systems would not solve problems on their own, but would primarily support people in doing so.
The president of the digital association Bitkom, Achim Berg, thinks that the work of the commission is impressive: “The final report is a mammoth work that gives a unique overview of artificial intelligence and possible political flanking”. A reference work has been created that will continue to work beyond the day.