Reichstag Building, Berlin, Germany — photo by @acalmelor

Germany’s AI Strategy

I thought I would go through the German AI strategy that was published in November 2018. C. Koch on Medium has already made a summary of the key points in the strategy and the Future of Life Institute has given an overview of the way that lead to the strategy for Germany. Thus in the beginning this will be a summary of summaries, that is as well taking into consideration that the strategy is written in German and no translated version is readily available. On the other hand the website of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, with what I presume is a digital department, has a website with a summary as well ( There is in addition to this a website specifically for the national strategy with rolling updates. As such I bring you the summary of summaries on the German AI strategy.

Below is a summary originally posted by

In the 2019 federal budget, the Federation has taken a first step, allocating a total of €500 million to beef up the AI strategy for 2019 and the following years. Up to and including 2025, the Federation intends to provide around €3 billion for the implementation of the Strategy. The leverage effect this will have on business, science and the Länder will mean that the overall amount available is at least doubled.

The Federal Government’s AI Strategy sets out a number of different measures designed to help achieve three major objectives:

1) Making Germany and Europe global leaders on the development and use of AI technologies and securing Germany’s competitiveness in the future.

  • Further develop our existing Centres of Excellence for AI research at supra-regional level, establish additional ones and incorporate them all into a national network of at least twelve centres and application hubs.
  • Create at least 100 additional professorships for AI to ensure that AI has a firm place within the higher education system.
  • Work with France and drive forward the development of a Franco-German research and development network (virtual centre) that is based on existing structures and the particular skills possessed by each of the two countries.
  • Make AI one of the priorities for the envisaged Agency for Breakthrough Innovations.
  • Form a European innovation cluster providing funding for cooperative research projects over the next five years.
  • Have the ‘AI trainers’ based at the Mittelstand 4.0 Centres of Excellence contact at least 1,000 companies per year.
  • Support companies as they establish test beds.
  • Double the budget for EXIST in 2019.
  • Create new funding opportunities for venture capital and venture debt and launch a Tech Growth Fund Initiative.
  • Set incentives and create an environment that makes it easier to share data voluntarily and in a way that is in line with data protection rules.

2) Safeguarding the responsible development and use of AI that serves the good of society.

  • Establish a German AI observatory.
  • Initiate European and transatlantic dialogue on the human-centred use of AI in the world of work.
  • As part of a National Further Training Strategy, develop a broad-based set of instruments to foster the skills of the workforce.
  • Use the results of a new skills monitoring to inform and develop the Skilled Labour Strategy in the fields of digital skills and new technologies such as AI.
  • Safeguard the possibilities for works councils to engage in codetermination when it comes to the introduction and use of AI.
  • Fund in-company-based test beds for AI applications in the world of work.
  • Fund AI applications to benefit the environment and the climate, and develop assessment principles for this. Our goal is to initiate 50 flagship applications in this field.

3) Integrating AI in society in ethical, legal, cultural and institutional terms in the context of a broad societal dialogue and active political measures.

  • Invite data protection authorities and business associations for a round table and work together to develop joint guidelines for developing and using AI systems in a way that is compatible with data protection rules and to highlight best practice examples.
  • Provide funding for the development of innovative applications that support self-determination, social inclusion, cultural participation and the protection of citizens’ privacy.
  • Establish a Digital Work and Society Future Fund to get the message out and to promote multidisciplinary social technology design.
  • Further develop the Learning Systems Platform to become the Artificial Intelligence Platform hosting a dialogue between government, science and commerce with civil society.

Koch outlines in the beginning the weight in the strategy placed on educating and informing society so that everyone can participate. He then mentions the 12 fields of action, here strongly abbreviated:

  1. Strengthening research
  2. Innovation competitions and European innovation clusters
  3. Enable integration into business (also for SMEs)
  4. Fostering the founding of new AI businesses
  5. Support the changing labour market
  6. Strengthening vocational training and attracting skilled labour
  7. Using AI in public administration
  8. Making data available and facilitating use
  9. Adapting regulatory framework
  10. Setting standards
  11. National and international networking
  12. Engaging in dialogue with society and develop framework for policy action
A banner picture from the Germany AI website retrieved on the 4th of January

EDIT: I found an english version of the strategy and will look over it!

It can be found here Full document as PDF. Thank you C. Koch for sharing.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 213. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.