- Diverse opinions surface in Germany’s political and digital sector on the European Commission’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act).
- Left party Die Linke calls for rigorous regulation and transparency, while “The Union” stresses the importance of fostering innovation and avoiding over-regulation.
Decoding the AI Conundrum: Diverging Views Emerge
In the advent of the trilogue on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) proposed by the European Commission in April 2021, Germany’s political arena and digital experts show a split on AI regulation strategies. As the negotiations unfold, issues such as biometric surveillance intensify the discourse, highlighting the differing perspectives among political groups and digital professionals.
It’s here! Our new position paper on the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act (#AIAct) highlights the key issues that need to be addressed in the upcoming #trilogue negotiations. Thanks to all our contributors! ➡ https://t.co/kHR5cL5VJ0 pic.twitter.com/MtbefMDlUO
— KI Bundesverband (@ki_verband) July 4, 2023
Die Linke’s Call for Rigorous Regulation
Die Linke, the left-wing party in Germany, points out the need for stricter consumer protection in European AI regulation. They advocate for a mandatory pre-launch compliance check for high-risk AI systems, encompassing those posing significant threats to health, safety, and fundamental rights of individuals. The party proposes the German government to appoint a national supervisory authority backed with adequate financial resources for this task.
Further, Die Linke strongly supports the prohibition of AI-driven biometric identification and classification systems in public spaces, election interference, and predictive policing systems. They also believe that AI systems used outside research institutions should not be entitled to the exception for scientific AI systems mentioned in the AI Act. The party urges the German government to foster training programs on AI capabilities and limitations and evaluate AI systems annually.
The Union’s Advocacy for Innovation
On the other hand, “The Union,” a center-right coalition formed by the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, argues against over-regulation of AI. The coalition underlines the significance of a conducive environment for AI innovation, voicing their desire for Europe and Germany to lead in generative AI.
Rather than setting up a colossal supervisory authority in Brussels, the Union recommends legal certainty through alignment with established regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation, the Data Act, and the Digital Markets Act. They also propose the expansion of the existing supercomputing infrastructure of the Gauss Center for Supercomputing to support Germany’s technological sovereignty in AI.
German AI Association: Striking the Balance
Germany’s largest industry association for AI, the German AI Association (KI Bundesverband), representing over 400 innovative SMEs, startups, and entrepreneurs, also champions the call for innovation. The association’s president, Jörg Bienert, asserts that Europe needs to cultivate AI systems that can compete globally. He suggests a regulatory framework emphasizing risk mitigation, domestic development promotion, and safeguarding fundamental rights and European values.
Steering AI Growth in Germany and Europe
In the AI sphere, Europe’s dependency on software and services from non-European countries is escalating. Holger Hoos, an Alexander von Humboldt professor for AI, warns of this threat to Europe’s sovereignty. Hoos calls for significant targeted public investments in the European AI landscape and the creation of a globally recognized “CERN for AI.” This center would serve as a hub for cutting-edge AI research, attracting talent, and driving global AI projects, thereby contributing to the success of “AI made in Europe.”