BERLIN, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The German information technology association BITKOM appealed to the country's federal government on Tuesday to help speed up the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for commercial purposes.
"We must succeed in making the diverse opportunities of AI for all areas of life, ranging from medicine, over mobility to education", a statement by BITKOM president Achim Berg read. Berg's described AI as the "most important key technology of the coming decades" and expressed the view that its spread would herald far-reaching changes for German companies.
According to a BITKOM survey, the share of Germans who view AI as an opportunity has risen from 48 percent to 62 percent between 2017 and 2018. During the same period, the proportion of citizens who viewed the technology as a threat declined from 47 percent to 35 percent. The findings were based on a representative telephone survey of 1,007 respondents aged 16 or above.
While large majorities of respondents were still sceptical about the use of AI in certain areas, such as the education and justice systems, BITKOM highlighted that only 6 percent thought that the technology would not have any visible effect on society at all and 71 percent further indicated that AI would be crucial to ensuring the future success of German companies.
"We do not have much time left in order to assume a leading role in AI. The AI strategy of the federal government is a signal of change, now we need to get to work", Berg argued. Having recently outlined a new digital strategy, the ruling "grand coalition" cabinet is scheduled to hold discussions on the specific topic of AI during a summit in Nuremberg next week.
Bitkom noted that it "expressly welcomed" a related announcement by the federal government to create 100 new AI professorships in Germany. One of the topics which the association's president said required further attention from legislators at the upcoming Nuremberg meeting was how to define an ethical framework for the use of AI.