Germany plans to double AI funding in race with China, U.S.

August 28, 2023

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Germany is stepping up its game in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector with an ambitious plan to nearly double its public funding for AI research to nearly €1 billion within the next two years. The move aims to narrow the technological and skills gap with AI heavyweights in China and the United States.

Here’s what we know:

Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Germany’s research minister, made the announcement on Wednesday. However, when set against the backdrop of international spending on AI, Germany’s commitment seems reserved. A recent Stanford University report disclosed that the U.S. government alone allocated $3.3 billion for AI research in 2022.

This aggressive move by Germany can be seen as a strategic endeavor to revitalize its economy, which is currently rebounding from a recession. Germany’s cornerstone industries, like autos and chemicals, are battling challenges from emerging electric-vehicle producers and surging energy prices.

Key to Germany’s AI strategy is the establishment of 150 new university AI labs. Additionally, there are plans to augment data centers and offer access to intricate public data sets. These data sets are invaluable, providing raw material from which AI models can extract innovative insights. This is a significant initiative, especially in a nation where many still prefer cash transactions and continue to use fax machines.

In comparison, private AI expenditure in the U.S. soared to a staggering $47.4 billion in 2022, overshadowing Europe’s collective spending and China’s $13.4 billion, as revealed by the same Stanford report.

Stark-Watzinger is optimistic about Europe’s unique position. She emphasized the European regulatory landscape, which strongly prioritizes privacy and personal safety. “We offer AI that is explainable, trustworthy, and transparent,” she noted, viewing it as a “competitive advantage” that might lure businesses to Germany. She further advocated for streamlined regulations to stimulate private AI research investments.

While Germany may not yet host tech giants like those in the U.S., there’s a silver lining. The nation’s AI startup ecosystem has witnessed a twofold increase in 2023. However, this surge has placed Germany in the ninth position globally, candidly admitted by Stark-Watzinger.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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