Working in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), BMAS is in charge of the Federal Government’s AI strategy. The three ministries jointly developed a white paper identifying twelve fields of action in summer 2018. In a comprehensive consultation process, more than one hundred associations, organisations, and institutions operating nationwide submitted their statements on these twelve fields of action. The Digital Cabinet adopted the AI strategy in November 2018.
With a holistic approach encompassing twelve fields of action, the AI strategy is pursuing three central goals:
- To make Germany and Europe a leading hub for the development and application of AI technologies and to safeguard Germany’s future competitiveness,
- to ensure the responsible development and use of AI for the benefit of the common good, and
- to embed AI in society in ethical, legal, cultural, and institutional terms through a broad societal dialogue and active political decision-making.
As planned, the progress made on implementing the strategy was documented and outlined in an interim report after one year. A year later, in winter 2020, the three responsible ministries published an evaluation of the individual measures in the AI strategy update. The Federal Government’s updated strategy primarily responded to new developments and requirements that had arisen since the publication of the AI strategy in 2018. The strategy update has two central elements. One is a significant increase in AI funding under the economic stimulus and future package. The other is the focus on sustainability, environmental and climate protection, pandemic control, and international networking.
Over the next few years, the projects and measures outlined in the AI strategy are going to continue to be implemented. In this connection, some of the aspects that BMAS and the Policy Lab are focussing on are:
- analysing the requirements with respect to secure and trusted AI applications via the AI Observatory,
- establishing an AI ecosystem for AI innovations for the benefit of the common good via the Civic Innovation Platform,
- supporting small and medium-sized enterprises through the “Future Centres (AI)” funding programme,
- and taking a human-centred approach to rolling out AI processes in company practice via the AI experimentation rooms.
BMAS has expanded the funding guidelines entitled “Making companies and public administrations fit for the future in the light of the digital transformation” to include AI as a focus field of action in order to test the use of AI solutions, among other things, by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a protected space and promote good working conditions in the digital working world. In this way, BMAS wants to support companies and their employees in driving change jointly and actively. The learning and experimentation rooms are promoting innovative projects – particularly with reference to AI – to an even greater extent. This specific measure is also to assist in achieving the goals of the AI strategy.