Borderless AI - AI Austria meets Germany and China
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Borderless AI - AI Austria meets Germany and China

Building borderless AI 🇦🇹🇨🇳🇩🇪 We had the chance to participate in the annual event of our cooperation partner GCAAI - the German Chinese Association for AI.

The GCAAI was formed in 2017 with the mission to promote the cooperation between German and Chinese companies in the field of AI.

For their 2019 gathering president Han Xiao and his team assembled a top notch speaker lineup which touched upon topics from deeptech research to societal and business implications of AI. To name just a few:

The event was kicked-off with a short intro by host Emon Wang from TechCodeAccelerator Germany, who provided an overview on the their services and startups

AI Research & Technology in Germany and China

In his keynote Prof. Hans Uszkoreit provided a critical reflection on the current status of AI research in the US, China and Europe. By referencing Dr.Kaifu-Lee‘s „AI Superpowers“ he made a convincing case that Europe is actually world class when it comes to basic research in AI, which is also reflected in comparative studies.

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Things become trickier when it comes to product research and commercialization, where Europe is lagging far behind both the US and China. While it is doubtful that we will see a serious EU challenger in B2C services and products anytime soon, the situation is very different in B2B. For example in robotics China is often cited as the leading nation in automation neglecting the fact that most of these robots are imported and based on European.

AI Introductions for the management level

In his talk Dr.Dennis Klinkhammer focused on a very familiar problem for AI practitioners: the gap between AI perception at management level and the actual know-how on how AI can be used in the business world.

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By citing both a recent PWC study and his own research, he painted a sobering picture on how relevant German companies perceive AI for their business.

„A staggering 50% don‘t think AI is even relevant for their business“

AI @ Axel Springer

Dat Tran, the head of AI from Axel Springer, gave an excellent talk on how German media powerhouse Axel Springer has been approaching AI. Hint: they take it very serious and consider it THE top priority.

German companies are good in „buy“ - it‘s time they also become good in „make“

By designating AI as a core competence for the entire group, Springer made it clear that merely buying pre-made solutions won't be enough to stay competitive. As a consequence a large number of AI startups and companies were bought and an internal AI team was built-up.

AI in the automotive industry

Jan Zawadzki's talk focussed on the rising importance of AI for the automotive industry, as well as the huge economic impact the industry has on the global economy.

If Waymo was listed as a separate entity at the stock market, it's valuation would exceed 120 Billion USD

However while car sales are stagnating or growing only slowly, with mobility a new sector has emerged with double digit growth rates and new market entrants such as Uber or Google. This growth potential is also reflected in Google Waymo's valuation, which exceeds those of its OEM peers combined.

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So what is an Austrian guy doing at a German Chinese conference?

Han Xiao and myself have been in touch for while and it was a pleasure to have him as a speaker on the Applied AI Conference 2019 in Vienna which we organized together with the Außenwirtschaft Österreich. We clicked immediately and decided to deepen the cooperation between our organizations.

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Lot‘s of ideas were bounced - stay tuned for the first announcement of joint-projects soon.

Takeaways

  • Europe is by no means behind in AI research, actually the opposite is true. However the challenge is commercialization of research results and a building up a healthy ecosystem
  • Many leading companies in Germany across all sectors acknowledge the potential of AI and started to invest massively in inhouse competency. This is a logical evolution to make the step from "buy" to "make" in AI related projects and services.
  • Almost 50% of German companies do not consider AI a relevant topic in the coming years, which is in stark contrast to Chinese companies
  • AI can only be successfully implemented in an organization if is not treated as "just another IT project", but

Wanna become a part of the Austrian AI movement? Join AI Austria under www.aiaustria.com