What are the core industries of AI

AI is changing German industry

The EU Commission has presented new rules for dealing with artificial intelligence in risk applications. While industry associations warn of a brake on innovation, the IT association Bitkom attests that German companies are more interested in the technology.

Europe wants to be at the forefront when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and still regulate the use of the technology. The EU Commission announced today. Possible risks should be taken into account as well as the fundamental rights of all EU citizens. The authority defined so-called high-risk applications. These include critical infrastructure such as the transport sector and recruitment programs. According to Brussels, human supervision, extensive data sets and a risk assessment must be ensured here. Biometric identification in public spaces should only be allowed within narrow limits and with approval - for example when looking for a missing child or an impending terrorist attack. The Commission wants to completely ban technologies such as the social credit system from China, which rewards behavior in accordance with the rules and punishes misconduct. High penalties are provided for violations of the rules.

In the opinion of the EU Commission, however, the vast majority of applications - such as spam filters, computer games that work with AI, or optimization tools for processes and services - pose little or no risk. They should therefore be subject to significantly less strict or no conditions at all. But it will take some time before a set of rules is available. The proposals are now on the table. Now they should be discussed in the nation states and in the European Parliament.

Innovation slowed down?

The German industry association Bitkom has already taken a position. The planned testing and certification of AI must focus on the use of real high-risk applications, explained Bitkom President Achim Berg. "We need safe and trustworthy AI in Germany and Europe - but we must not lump everyone and everything together." With every new regulation, care must be taken to ensure that the costs incurred by companies remain proportionate and that the necessary innovations are not prevented. “It is important that politics quickly create clarity and legal certainty for companies. Uncertainty and lengthy coordination processes would delay or prevent urgently needed investments. "

Business likes artificial intelligence

The German economy has meanwhile recognized the importance of artificial intelligence as a crucial future technology. Every fourth company is planning to invest in AI. But only 8% of all respondents say that they use AI applications, 30% plan to use them. Last year that was only 22%. These are some of the results of a representative survey of 600 companies that was presented today on behalf of the industry association Bitkom.

The hopes associated with AI - in this case machine learning - are rising rapidly. 62% (2020: 55%) are convinced that the technology offers opportunities for their own business. The proportion of those for whom AI is not an issue has fallen significantly - from 71% in 2020 to 59% now. "From autonomous driving to medical diagnosis, from support with customer inquiries to quality control in production: the possible uses of artificial intelligence run through all industries," said Bitkom President Achim Berg in the morning. In his opinion, it is now a matter of bringing AI into business practice with even more momentum.

There is a lack of personnel, money and time for AI

But there is still a problem, especially when it comes to actual use. Companies that are not currently dealing with artificial intelligence cite a lack of staff (49%), lack of time (47%) and lack of financial resources (46%) as the most important reasons. Four out of ten companies want to wait and see where the use of AI makes sense in other companies. 40% do not have the necessary data for the use of AI, 38% feel unsettled by legal uncertainties.

In principle, companies see a wide range of advantages from AI, for example through the optimization of processes. 44% expect faster and more precise problem analyzes through AI, 35% accelerated processes and 30% a lower consumption of resources, which would also benefit the environment. More than a third expect a reduction in human errors in everyday work, and every fifth company believes that business models will change. “There is no single reason to use artificial intelligence in a company. AI is a basic technology that opens up a multitude of new possibilities, ”emphasized Berg.

Processes in sight

The industry in particular seems to be well on the way to using AI. Most companies use the technology for personalized advertising (71%), but this is followed immediately by 64% to improve internal processes in production and maintenance. AI is often used in customer service or when analyzing customer behavior. Rarely, but with 35% in logistics for route optimization and only 25% in research and development.

"The corona pandemic is certainly contributing to the current reluctance to invest in AI," Bitkom President Achim Berg

As with many other new technologies, small businesses are much more reluctant to invest in AI. In 2021, only 6% of companies with 20 to 99 employees want to invest in AI, for companies with 100 to 499 employees it is 15% and for large companies it is more than one in five. Berg partially understands this: "The corona pandemic is certainly contributing to the current reluctance to invest in AI." At the same time, however, it would be evident everywhere that companies that had already invested in digitization in the past would get through the current crisis better.

German artificial intelligence in front

Only 3% of the companies that already use AI or are planning or discussing its use develop and program AI solutions independently and without support. Around every second relies on external partners, almost exclusively from Germany (71%) and the USA (29%). Six out of ten companies (57%) buy or rent AI applications from external providers, mainly from Germany, then only from the USA. "Even if the development of technologies for AI is being driven forward strongly in the USA and China: German providers are market leaders here in many areas," said Berg.

AI is changing automotive and mechanical engineering

Nevertheless, many of the respondents still expect the USA and, increasingly, China to play a leading role. "Business and politics must work together so that we can maintain and expand our current good position with artificial intelligence," demanded Berg. “After all, the use of artificial intelligence is changing core industries in which Germany still has a leading position worldwide, such as automotive and mechanical engineering. If we want to strengthen the pillars of German industry, we must also strengthen AI. "