Bitkom: Three quarters of Germans see AI as an opportunity

November 7, 2023: Bitkom and Silicon Saxony welcome the AI action plan presented by Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger on November 7. In particular, the action plan aims to improve the transfer of AI research results to the economy, including with a skills offensive. In Bitkom’s view, the German government is thus addressing a critical point in the German innovation system: the rapid translation of outstanding achievements in technological research into marketable products and solutions. In order to achieve this goal, however, public high-performance computing capacities must be made more accessible to companies than has been the case to date. In addition, there is still a lack of clarity as to what financial resources are available and how the AI action plan should be dovetailed with the German government’s AI strategy.

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Symbolic image of artificial intelligence (AI) / Photo: pixabay

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Around three quarters of Germans (73%) see benefits rather than risks in artificial intelligence. In contrast, only just under a quarter (24%) consider AI to be a danger. These are the results of a survey of 1,004 people aged 16 and over commissioned by the digital association Bitkom. Five years ago, 34% still saw AI as a threat and only 62% saw it as an opportunity. “Artificial intelligence is fundamentally changing our economy and society. The opportunity perspective of people who have been able to try out the diverse possibilities of AI for themselves in recent months with chatbots or the generation of images must also be reflected in German and European policy,” says Bitkom President Dr. Ralf Wintergerst. “The Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s AI action plan comes at the right time: AI needs to get out of the universities and research institutes and into the economy and the market. It is important that no unnecessary hurdles are created for artificial intelligence made in Europe in the final trilogue negotiations on the EU’s AI Act.”

The original risk-based approach of the AI Act must therefore be consistently maintained; generative AI should not be regulated as a technology in itself. Under no circumstances should there be additional gradations in the regulation of so-called foundation models and general purpose AI – such as the currently much-discussed language models.”

“The risk of an AI application does not automatically increase with the number of users or the size of an AI model,” says Wintergerst. In addition, the AI Act threatens to become increasingly bloated with further regulations, for example by also including copyright issues. Wintergerst: “With the AI Act, we must not repeat the mistakes of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is still causing legal uncertainty in companies years later. Our goal must be to develop artificial intelligence in Europe and Germany that is based on our values.”

Two thirds (68%) of companies in Germany see AI as the most important technology of the future, but only 15% use it. 68% say they are reluctant to use AI because they are afraid of violating regulations. And almost one in two (48%) believe that excessive regulation is the reason why products such as ChatGPT are not being developed in Europe. At the same time, 73 percent believe that clear AI rules could give European companies a competitive advantage.

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👉 www.bitkom.org 

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