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A study published by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy today shows that only six per cent of all companies surveyed are already using artificial intelligence. The share of employees working in the field of AI has yet to reach one per cent.

Said Thomas Jarzombek, Commissioner of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for the Digital Industry and Start-ups: “Companies in Germany are far from using AI across the board. Many firms, including SMEs, are not even aware how they could integrate artificial intelligence into their business models to optimise their processes and be able to sell new, data-driven products. Wherever this is possible, companies should use the coronavirus crisis to bring themselves up to speed on artificial intelligence. We want to foster a wide-spread use of artificial intelligence and are therefore providing AI trainers and acting as patrons for a free online course entitled ‘Elements of AI’”.

The study about the ‘Use of artificial intelligence in German businesses’ that was published today is the first to offer an overview about the state-of-play regarding the use of AI in companies. It uses indicators to show which industries used AI in 2019 to what extent and for what purposes.

The study is part of a large research project on digitisation, which has been undertaken on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with an initial duration of three years. The project, which is entitled ‘Measuring the degree of digitisation in the German industry’ is conducted by a consortium formed by the ZEW-Leibnitz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim (consortium leader), the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Cologne Institute for Economic Research Consult, Research Institute for Rationalisation at Aachen University, and the German Institute for Economic Research.

As part of the research project and also under the Federal Government’s AI Strategy of November 2018, there will also be further studies and reports about the use of AI in companies.

The Federal Government wants to transfer knowledge and expertise about AI from science to businesses and also to foster the take-up of AI across large parts of the German SME sector, the Mittelstand. This is why, starting last year, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been providing funding for AI coaches based at the Mittelstand 4.0 Centres of Excellence. These coaches are to raise awareness among Mittelstand companies and in the skilled crafts sector about the technological and economic potential that can be found in AI. More than 50 AI coaches have taken up their work in 13 Mittelstand 4.0 Centres of Excellence.

Furthermore, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has taken on the patronage for a free online course entitled ‘Elements of AI’. Everyone interested in the field can use this course to learn some basic facts about artificial intelligence. The course, which is available in German, can be done at one’s own speed and does not rely on any previous experience with coding or special maths skills. It is provided by the Chambers of Industry and Commerce as an easily accessible starting point for people new to AI. The course was developed by the University of Helsinki and Finnish company Reaktor. At the initiative of the Finno-German Chamber of Commerce in Helsinki, it was then made available on the German market by the educational agency of the German Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK-Bildungs-GmbH). The localisation of the content was done by the appliedAI Initiative at the UnternehmerTUM non-profit centre, which is also overseeing the operations.

The text of the study can be downloaded here (in German).