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Artificial intelligence offers more opportunities than risks


25 Apr 2018


Innovation & Enterprise

VDMA supports EU Commission's position on AI and warns against a debate driven by fears

Brussels/Frankfurt, April 25, 2018 - Development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in industry requires a reliable European framework in place – but without compromising opportunities for future innovations. The mechanical engineering industry considers the latest communication by the European Commission on artificial intelligence in Europe as reflecting a balanced position in this regard. "We must work together internationally to establish a workable set of rules for artificial intelligence. That is why we expressly welcome the efforts of the European Commission," says VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker.

At the same time, VDMA warns that the public debate on the promotion and regulation of AI must continue to be objective. "We hope that the discussion on artificial intelligence will focus on the competitiveness of industry and will not be driven by fear of job losses or ideas like a robot tax," says Welcker. "Artificial intelligence, as it is used in industry, is very detailed and solution-oriented and has nothing to do with horror scenarios that are rather based on science fiction films."

AI technologies such as “machine learning” are already being used in the industry with success, for example in identifying patterns for error recognition, or for remote machine maintenance. VDMA expects AI to play an increasingly major role in mechanical engineering in the future, and that self-learning machines will contribute to more efficient production and to greater competitiveness as a result. The Association considers that concerns about massive job losses are unfounded and refers to the high level of automation in Germany, which may have changed a number of job profiles but also to an overall increase in jobs.


The VDMA represents more than 3200 companies in the medium-sized mechanical and plant engineering sector. With 1.35 million employees in Germany and a turnover of 226 billion euros (2017), the sector is the largest industrial employer and one of Germany's leading industrial sectors overall.


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