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Conference "Morals & Machines"

Europe needs a legally binding body of rules

In matters of digitalisation, Europa needs a legally binding body of rules – along the lines of the General Data Protection Regulation, stated Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dresden. It is a matter for concern in itself ,"when so many people say that technology is a matter for concern". In Dresden’s Frauenkirche, the Chancellor was discussing the opportunities and risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI).

Chancellor Angela Merkel in discussion with Miriam Meckel during the "Morals & Machines" conference in Dresden's Frauenkirche Angela Merkel calls for a legally binding body of rules for Europe Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

It is important, she said that the European Union finds its own way forward in matters of digitalisation. This includes social and taxation models along with ethical principles and the question of how to earn money with digitalisation, explained Chancellor Angela Merkel in a discussion with "ada" founder Miriam Meckel at the Morals & Machines conference.

Too many concerns

In some cases, however, there are too many concerns, and sometimes a disinclination to use data, which is a valuable raw material. "We are almost swifter to set up the restrictions than we are to make good use of data."

Artificial intelligence is also a "huge adventure" said Angela Merkel. "We will not manage to live more sustainably without innovations," she continued. "I see that as a slightly threatening thing, when so many people maintain that technology cannot help us."

The need to catch up

To accelerate technological progress in Germany, the German government drew up its own Artificial Intelligence Strategy a few months ago. The project has three billion euros in approved funding. The major difficulty now is to allocate the funding. There are several fields in which Germany is not a leader, the Chancellor summed up.

She gave the example of computing capacity, where it would be important to achieve the next stage of development. When, however, the focus is on mechanical engineering or applications in the health sector, Germany has some hard work ahead of it.


Jun 20, 2019