Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the defining technologies of our time. It transcends scientific disciplines, economic sectors and national borders – and, in doing so, often calls the role of humans into question. As part of its mission to ensure “a future worth living”, VDE has therefore made AI a central field of action.
AI is not something being imposed upon us. Rather, it represents a design task we need to tackle with determination – be it in industry, scientific research or politics and society. How can AI, in conjunction with other technologies old and new, actually deliver its greatest benefits? How can we apply Germany and Europe’s particularly careful handling of fundamental rights to AI without getting stuck in red tape chasing the illusion of total risk avoidance? How do we mobilize and train the right people, and how do we create the infrastructures Europe needs to gain technological sovereignty in the face of global instability?
In my work as chair of European AI standardization (CEN-CENELEC JTC21), as co-chair of AI risk assessment in the OECD, as an expert for the EU Commission and UNESCO, and as VDE’s representative in the Council of Europe, the need and appreciation for VDE’s input is something I witness on a regular basis. Acting as a key bridge-builder between stakeholders, we counsel all the relevant interest groups on what is both technically achievable and sensible from a systemic perspective.
This issue of VDE dialog will give you insights into the AI-related topics that VDE is currently working on: from the technology’s use in power grids and the energy transition to the mistrust generative AI is sowing in the digital space and the challenges faced in government funding and inspections for AI.
As I write this, we have just received the official EU standardization mandate for artificial intelligence. Those of us at VDE are at the center of the action when it comes to setting such standards as a foundation for the European AI Act. AI is a technology that needs to be molded by human norms. Let’s work on them together.
Dr. Sebastian Hallensleben, Head of Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, VDE