BERLIN, June 28 (Xinhua) -- For the first time in Germany, a special cabinet committee for digitalization has met, with artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the future of work at the heart of its agenda.
According to a government statement released on Wednesday, the goal is to help "shape the digital transformation and use its opportunities for the benefit of the people".
From now on, the German government will regularly coordinate digital developments with the new committee.
Under the chairmanship of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the high-level committee includes all 15 government ministers, as well as digital state minister Dorothee Baer, minister of state for culture and media Monika Gruetters as well as government spokesperson Steffen Seibert.
Asked why all ministers were in the digital cabinet, Merkel said: "We asked all ministers if they belonged in there and everyone said yes."
Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, Tomaso Duso of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), said the new German government's plans "are full of good intentions, from infrastructure development to comprehensive digitization of the administration".
However, the DIW expert is less certain about concrete results.
"The vision of a state 4.0 is appealing, but unfortunately there is no concrete plan on how to get there. In particular, the competencies between the federal government and local authorities are not clearly defined," Duso said.
Additionally, the digital infrastructure that was needed as a basis was still "only developed to a limited extent", Duso added.
Concerning artificial intelligence, the new digital committee now aims to "give AI researchers in Germany good prospects for the long term" by developing a national AI strategy, according to the government statement.
The committee considers blockchain a cross-sectional technology that "forms the basis for new digital business models and innovations". Because a significant part in developing this technology is done by start-ups and start-up networks, the German government wanted to "create attractive conditions for their work."
Upcoming changes for employees caused by the digital transformation are handled in such a way that "jobs are secured and working conditions are designed in such a way that the interests of the employees are adequately taken into account."
With respect to fast changing working conditions and requirements, the German government considers it crucial that "employees continue to receive further training" throughout their careers.
Germany intends to adopt the strategy for implementing the digital projects by the end of this year. "We must step up the pace," digital state minister Dorothee Baer said.