AI - these two letters trigger a wide variety of associations across all sections of society. Expectations of a future in which many of today’s problems will be solved by technological advances as well as fears of the very same advances. One thing is certain: artificial intelligence has a vitally important role to play for each and every one of us, whether in the workplace and in our economic lives, in science or for our social fabric. This is why it is so important to find answers to the many questions, to establish connections and engage in discourse. This is what the Observatory for Artificial Intelligence in Work and Society – or the AI Observatory – is working on with a scientific approach.
The work of the AI Observatory is structured into five fields of action: impact assessment of AI, AI in administration, legal frameworks/governance, international cooperations and dialogue. Collectively, these five building blocks enable an action-oriented and multi-perspective approach to the topic of artificial intelligence and are prerequisites for security, and and public benefit orientation in the use of this technology.
How is AI changing individual jobs, the everyday lives of employees and society in general? How do we integrate AI into people's everyday working lives? In this area of action, we seek to answer these questions with the help of technological impact assessments as well as economic and interdisciplinary analyses. Specifically, we analyse how new AI solutions affect the workplace and society, for instance, and develop human-centric and responsible solutions for introducing AI systems to organisations. Our social partners, science and international organisations such as the OECD support us in this. A key task in this area is to establish and expand an objective information basis in the field of AI in the workplace and society. These indicators are designed to identify trends promptly and evaluate them.
How can AI improve administrative processes for citizens? What criteria are used to select and use AI applications? How can high quality be guaranteed and administrative processes made comprehensible and fair? These are the central issues in the area of action AI in labour and social administration. We aim to find examples of best practice at national and international level and examine how we can incorporate these into our administrations. We also promote dialogue between administration experts and engage in participatory processes to develop policies for using AI in labour and social administration.
3a. A regulatory framework for AI
One of the goals of the German Government’s AI strategy is to enable a transparent, comprehensible and secure AI. To achieve this goal, a legal framework must be put in place. This is necessary not just at national level but also at European level. By participating in the AI white paper process, the AI Observatory is helping to formulate a future regulatory framework at EU level. In the regulatory framework action area, we are developing concepts for an ecosystem to ensure the implementation of the future statutory framework and enable the transparent, comprehensible and secure use of AI in the workplace and in society.
3b. Human Machine Interaction
This area addresses the question how humans and machines can collaborate in the future and how socio-technological systems will be organised. Humans and AI-based systems will increasingly engage with one another in the future, especially during production processes and in the delivery of services but also in a social context. This marks a fundamental change in the relationship between man and machine. The handing over of decisions to AI-based systems raises ethical, social or legal questions. To ensure that we can navigate this new terrain safely, we will scrutinise existing principles and regulations and formulate new ones where necessary.
AI and how we handle it are not just of concern to us in Germany but are topics of discussion on a global scale. What European and international rules and institutions do we need to ensure the responsible use of AI and applications based on it? The area of action entitled Building international and European structures aims to link German considerations and plans on the topic of AI with international structures – from the OECD to the Global Partnership on AI and all the way to the EU. To this end, the AI Observatory cooperates closely with international partners. The goal of these cross-border initiatives is, among other things, to exchange best practices and to establish a common basis of knowledge and evidence to support objective policy formulation. At European and international level, we are committed to the responsible and trustworthy development and use of AI. Our leading partners in this area alongside the EU member states are Japan, the USA and Canada.
How do we involve different stakeholder groups in the AI policy debate? How do we make AI usable for all of society? The focus of the Social dialogue and networking action area is to gather all stakeholders around a single table. We want to incorporate as many different segments of the population and perspectives as possible into the work of the AI Observatory and raise their awareness of the numerous facets of the topic. The core task of this action area is to provide a continuous flow of information about relevant developments in the field of AI, but also about the progress of the diverse measures of the AI Observatory. From workshop series to international symposia or research reports – this is where we create the framework for the productive exchange of expertise around the of the Observatory’s wide-ranging AI topics. Our goal is to make the application and development of AI a key social topic that is discussed impartially and openly.