Germany must learn to “promote not impede” the use of artificial
intelligence, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said, as it seeks to close digital technology gap between the country and other leading economies.
Merkel’s cabinet is holding a two-day retreat next week, at the end of which, the cabinet would present an Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy to help Europe’s biggest economy to adjust to the digital era.
Germany had been at the forefront of industrial innovation for decades, but policymakers were late to realise that export model, based on traditional manufacturing, was vulnerable and struggling to catch up.
Even standard bearers such as Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Daimler were vulnerable, with the likes of Uber posing a threat to mass individual car ownership.
The ride-hailing platform belongs to a growing class of asset-light companies that use artificial intelligence, essentially computers that can be trained to solve problems, to crunch data and run digital services.
“We want to push ourselves damn hard to make this topic a big success,” Chancellery Chief Helge Braun said at a presentation on Wednesday.
He said the government would focus on how to gather more data, support AI research, retain skilled workers and encourage them to begin a business venture and how to position digital regulation that would promote and not impede all these.
“We’ve got a lot of homework to do there,” he said, noting that in many countries firms made innovations and the state regulated afterwards, whereas in Germany “there is generally a ban anyway.”