How can I contribute to artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and learning systems can improve the lives of many people if used correctly. In order for this to succeed, politics, business, science and society must jointly discuss open questions and explore the opportunities and risks of technological progress. Comprehensive research is more important than ever in order to be able to understand technical developments from an ethical, social and legal perspective. This is the only way to say what can and should be used - but also where limits are to be set. For the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, one thing is central to all open questions: Artificial intelligence must be thought of in terms of people. Because technology should support all people, not alienate them.

AI strategy of the federal government

On November 15, 2018, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Federal Government's Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy. Against the background of the dynamic development of this technology field, this is understood as a framework for action for the coming years and is part of the digitalization implementation strategy. For the implementation of the AI ​​strategy, the federal government initially provided three billion euros by 2025. These funds were increased to five billion euros when the AI ​​strategy was updated on December 2, 2020 with the economic and future package, in order to strengthen Germany in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through research, development and use of AI and to lay the foundations for competitiveness even after the crisis.

The AI ​​strategy has three main goals:

  1. To make Germany and Europe a leading location for the development and application of AI technologies and to secure Germany’s future competitiveness,
  2. to ensure the responsible and common good-oriented development and use of AI, and
  3. Embed AI ethically, legally, culturally and institutionally in society as part of a broad social dialogue and active political shaping.

Statement on the status of artificial intelligence: where does Germany stand in terms of AI?

Statement on the status of artificial intelligence: where does Germany stand in terms of AI?
Copyright: BMBF

These goals are implemented through specific measures. The Federal Ministry of Research will above all increase the attractiveness of Germany as a research and science location in the field of AI. This includes:

  • Strengthening research in Germany and Europe through bundling and networking, setting up a national research consortium and a Franco-German research and innovation network as well as creating 100 new AI professorships;
  • Accompanying structural change, in particular through a national further training strategy;
  • Strengthening innovation through the Agency for Leap Innovations and through an industry-driven European AI innovation cluster;
  • Promotion of social dialogue, in particular through further development of the learning systems platform and expansion of research on technology assessment;
  • Developing new AI-based business models that correspond to our values ​​and promoting the social benefits of AI.

How is the BMBF strengthening AI research in Germany?

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)

The Federal Ministry of Research has been investing in research on artificial intelligence for many years. The progress made today and the potential created can be traced back not least to this funding. As early as 1988, with the establishment of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) Set a visible focus in AI research at an early stage. Together with the research institutes of the Fraunhofer Society, the Max Planck Society and the Helmholz Association, Germany has an efficient science and research landscape in the field of AI that is closely linked to industry through participation and cooperation.

AI strategy

For the implementation of the AI strategy the federal government will provide three billion euros by 2025. With the economic and future package, federal investment in AI will increase from three to five billion euros by 2025.

Project funding

With the Project funding the BMBF promotes specific research areas in a targeted manner. For example, research projects have been initiated with the aim of developing energy-efficient electronic hardware for AI systems or improving the transparency of AI decisions. Young AI researchers are also specifically promoted with special measures. The transfer of research results to SMEs in particular is to be supported by means of SME-specific measures.

Competence Centers for Artificial Intelligence

In addition to the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the Federal Ministry of Research is funding five othersCompetence centers for AI researchto further strengthen Germany as a location for AI. The competence centers are a key pillar of AI research in Germany. Together they form a network for the exchange of skills and research results. And very important: You ensure that Germany's AI research is and remains internationally visible.

  • These are the competence centers:
    • BIFOLD (Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data)
    • Tübingen AI Center - Competence Center for Machine Learning
    • MCML - Munich Center for Machine Learning
    • ML2R - Competence Center Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr
    • ScaDS - Competence Center for Scalable Data Services and Solutions Dresden / Leipzig

Platform "Learning Systems - The Platform for Artificial Intelligence"

In order to develop a responsible use of learning systems and to discuss legal, ethical and social issues, the Platform "Learning Systems - The Platform for Artificial Intelligence" initiated by the Federal Ministry of Research. It is intended to promote the dialogue between science, business, society and politics and to develop recommendations for action in order to position Germany as an international leader for learning systems.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorships for Artificial Intelligence

The BMBF would like to bring the world's brightest minds for AI research to Germany. To do this, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorships for Artificial Intelligence contribute. This means that up to 30 professorial positions can be created in the coming years. The BMBF provided five million euros over five years for experimental scientists. Theoretically working scientists receive 3.5 million euros per professorship over five years.

Accompanying research

The application of AI methods also raises numerous questions from a social science perspective. It is important to consider technological, ethical, legal, social and cultural aspects equally and to put people at the center of development. Therefore, the effects of AI on people and society (project KiMeGe - KI - Mensch - Gesellschaft: Holistic understanding and evaluation of the change in the human-technology relationship through artificial intelligence) as well as the behavior-controlling and regulative effects of algorithms and the associated social consequences (GOAL project - governance of and through algorithms - of algorithmic behavior control and artificial intelligence).

What else is planned?

Expansion of the AI ​​competence centers

As part of the implementation of the Federal Government's AI strategy, it was decided to further expand the competence centers. In the long term, it is planned to stabilize the financing of the centers together with the host countries. To this end, the federal government provides a total of up to 50 million euros annually and the respective home state provides funding in the corresponding amount. With this expansion, the research and teaching capacities at the competence centers in Berlin, Dortmund / Bonn, Dresden / Leipzig, Munich, Tübingen and at the DFKI are to be significantly strengthened.

Development of the European cloud GAIA-X

In order for the economy to benefit even better from the opportunities offered by AI in the future, Europe needs an answer to new data-based business models and value creation. Therefore the federal government is working on GAIA-X - a European cloud. It should guarantee security, sovereignty, data and trust protection and comply with European values ​​and standards. AI research results are to flow into the cloud in order to further strengthen Europe's competitiveness.

AI research in Germany

The Federal Ministry of Research has been investing in research on artificial intelligence for many years. The progress made today and the potential created can be traced back not least to this funding. A visible focus in AI research was set at an early stage with the establishment of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Together with the research institutes of the Fraunhofer Society, the Max Planck Society and the Helmholz Association, Germany has an efficient science and research landscape in the field of AI that is closely linked to industry through participation and cooperation.

Closing ranks in Europe

Europe is the largest market participant in the world. Europe must therefore set itself the goal of achieving a share of value creation with AI that corresponds to its economic strength. This requires a close alliance in Europe, more research in close cooperation between business and science, but above all a new start-up dynamic in the field of AI. For an "AI made in Europe" we are continuously working on networking at the European level.

AI for people

With its measures, the Federal Ministry of Research wants to break new ground for the development and use of AI technologies. At the same time, it shows how and where Germany and Europe can advance AI technologies for the benefit of people. It is crucial that the citizens have a say - because only those who know and can assess the opportunities and risks will have the necessary trust in the new.