Sustainable with AI: Plattform Lernende Systeme takes a stand
Munich, 16 November 2020
The Corona crisis is driving digital change and thus the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI systems make an important contribution to crisis management. However, the pandemic also reveals where they are not yet able to develop their full social and economic potential. In a position paper, the steering committee of Plattform Lernende Systeme formulates approaches for the future-oriented design of AI in Germany and Europe in order to be able to better meet future crises and to strengthen competitiveness. Trustworthy, certifiable AI solutions, efficient, secure data rooms and infrastructures as well as AI competencies are necessary.
The corona pandemic illustrates how fragile globally networked economies are. Digitalised, agile organisations have so far come through the crisis better than others. In order to position themselves for the future in global competition, Germany and Europe must become more resilient, i.e. develop the ability to better cope with unexpected, adverse events. Artificial Intelligence strengthens resilience and digital sovereignty and thus the competitiveness of economies, is the central message of the steering committee in its position paper. For example, AI systems can remotely monitor machines and avoid production downtimes, optimise complex logistics chains or help to track infection chains.
However, the pandemic also shows that the use of AI is reaching its limits: Where adequate data for the training of intelligent systems is lacking, where there are bottlenecks in data transmission and processing, AI cannot be used as a supporting tool. As a key to the resilience and sustainability of Germany and Europe, the authors cite open data rooms in Europe, which enable secure data exchange. Other key factors are independent and distributed cloud infrastructures as well as data-based value-added networks in which companies work together flexibly and create new business models.
“AI technologies make an important contribution to ensuring the sustainability of the economy and society in times of rapid technological developments. However, the relevance of new technologies only comes into play if people are able to assess the opportunities and risks so that they can accept and shape their use individually and socially or reject it in an informed way,” says Karl-Heinz Streibich, acatech President and Co-Chairman of Plattform Lernende Systeme. “A prerequisite for the creation of trust and the social acceptance of AI technologies is therefore the understanding of these technologies among the population, because only in this way can the social benefit potential be exploited safely and in a way that is oriented towards the common good.“
Certified, trustworthy AI systems
Only AI systems that are lawful, ethical and robust against interference and manipulation are trustworthy, says the position paper. These requirements formulate the starting points for the certification of AI systems, which can contribute to the secure and public benefit potential of society. However, to ensure that certification procedures do not prove to be an obstacle to innovation, overregulation must be avoided, according to the members of the steering committee of Plattform Lernende Systeme.
If authorities, hospitals and companies are to use AI to maintain basic functions of the state, economy and society during a crisis, their employees also need specific skills to be able to evaluate, check and apply AI systems. Strengthening the transfer of AI knowledge to research, teaching and companies is essential for this. The authors of the position paper refer here to qualification measures in schools and universities, the further development of education and training and strategic competence and knowledge management in companies, but also to regional AI competence centres, industry-oriented transfer hubs and learning laboratories.
About the position paper
The position paper “Securing sustainability with AI – approaches for more resilience and digital sovereignty” was written by the members of the steering committee of Plattform Lernende Systeme. The steering committee of Plattform Lernende Systeme, as a management level, controls the content and strategic orientation of the platform and sets new impulses for its work. Its members from science and industry represent important topics, disciplines, sectors and companies of different sizes in the field of learning systems. All members of the steering committee were appointed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).