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Artificial Intelligence

Companies insist on better AI support

VDE member companies and colleges see Europe in last place when it comes to digitization, behind highly industrialized continents. But targeted support for AI technologies could change that.

10 May. 2018
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Companies insist on better AI support (Chart: VDE Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik e.V.)

As part of the 2018 VDE Tec Report , the technology association paints a dismal picture of the local state of digitization: The 1,350 surveyed member companies and colleges consider Europe to be at the bottom of the group when it comes to highly industrialized global regions. Only 7% of study participants view the continent as a pioneer. Asia ranks first coming in at 40%, followed by North America at 18%. VDE CEO Ansgar Hinz demands targeted support for the development of AI-based technologies and their integration into industrial production, automation and engineering. 73% of those surveyed think universities are obligated to establish suitable educational programs for AI experts, while 60% consider targeted support for innovative startups to be necessary.

Demand for new, modern educational offerings can be traced back to a fear of an increasing shortage of skilled workers: 65% of the companies and colleges see this as an obstacle for an upswing in digitization, followed directly by insufficient investment budgets (43%). Now, they are demanding political initiatives: The participants considered the most urgent matter to be support of universities (73%) and micro-electronics (70%), a digital training offensive (also coming in at 73%), supporting startups in the areas of AI and robotics (60%) and expanding the 5G infrastructure (55%). Another current study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) claims that the development and logical use of AI-based technologies in German industry harbors potential added value totaling around 60 billion euros. It seems that others, at least at a European level, have a similar view of the situation: The EU Commission introduced an AI action package almost simultaneously.