Current Business Matters — May 2023

In recent months, artificial intelligence (AI) has captivated the attention of diverse audiences worldwide even more. ChatGPT, as an example, has become a popular conversation starter. This rapidly advancing technology has permeated various aspects of society, sparking debates and garnering attention in policy-making circles. The momentum behind AI is undeniable, and its increasing prevalence in discussions and policy debates signifies the transformative power it holds. In this issue, we explore how AI has gained significant traction and become a pivotal topic across different domains and outline AmCham Germany’s general position on digital policy.
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Heightened Awareness and Understanding

The exponential growth of AI capabilities, fueled by technological advancements and increased data availability, has propelled its popularity to new heights. From cutting-edge innovations in machine learning and language processing to breakthroughs in other fields, AI has demonstrated its potential to revolutionize industries and enhance human capabilities. This potential has certainly captured the imagination of individuals and organizations alike.

As AI has continues to develop, so has public awareness and understanding of its far-reaching implications. Conversations around AI have transitioned from a niche topic confined to technical circles to a mainstream subject accessible to a broader audience. Media coverage and the integration of AI in daily life have contributed to raising awareness and generating interest. As a result, more people are engaging in discussions, seeking information, and recognizing the impact AI can have on their lives and to the global village. As this Brookings article analyzes, this new automation technology will have repercussions to cognitive actions and tasks, disrupting mental tasks and having ripple effects on countless occupations. Furthermore, due to the technological infrastructure component – i.e. as a software available via internet – the dissemination process in comparison to the rollout periods of other past technologies may be expedited. In this vein, to profit from the enhancing potential of AI, policymakers, businesses, and civil society, must quickly catch up and find possibilities to adapt and regulate such technologies in a timely fashion – a challenging task considering the rapid pace of the development of these tools to start with.

From Laboratories to Policy Rooms – Vast Potential for Collaborative Efforts

The growing prominence of AI has caught the attention of policymakers worldwide. As the Brookings article mentions, AI has the potential of boosting global GDP up to 7%, unmatched by any past technology. Governments recognize the potential of AI to drive economic growth, improve public services, and address societal challenges. Consequently, policy initiatives are being formulated to shape the ethical and regulatory frameworks surrounding AI. Discussions on privacy, accountability, and the future of work have entered policy-making circles, indicating a paradigm shift where AI is seen as a priority and a key driver of national and global progress. As of May 2023, the European Union has brought forward the AI Act to strategize the regulatory framework of these technologies, taking into consideration risks, governance, and privacy issues.

The popularity of AI brings massive potential for collaboration among stakeholders from academia, industry, civil society, and governments. Multidisciplinary forums, task forces, and expert panels are becoming more prevalent to foster dialogue, share knowledge, and develop guidelines for responsible AI deployment. The involvement of diverse perspectives ensures that AI policies address societal concerns, mitigate risks, and leverage the technology's transformative potential for the benefit of all.

AmCham Germany’s take:

The growing momentum behind AI reflects a pivotal moment in our technological evolution. As AI continues to evolve, its popularity will likely intensify further, necessitating discussions, policies, and cooperation. It is crucial to ensure that AI development is inclusive, ethical, and aligned with the values and needs of individuals and societies. Balancing innovation with responsible governance will be key to harnessing AI's full potential while minimizing unintended consequences.

This exciting moment serves as an opportunity for transatlantic cooperation in standard setting in this cutting-edge technology. In the field of A.I. and many other areas, European and U.S. standards are already being applied. Instead of merging the final European and U.S. standards, both partners should design and define the standards jointly right from the start. The geopolitical dimension makes it necessary to strategically readjust the defining dogma of digital policy in recent years: digitalsovereignty.

Digital sovereignty should be understood and operationalized as transatlantic sovereignty. Based on the existing common set of values, we need a strong political impetus for a digital transatlantic economic zone. The fundamental goal of such an economic zone should not only be the harmonization of regulatory frameworks in the transatlantic relationship, but ultimately a digital single market between the U.S. and the EU that also opens docking points for other countries and regions, especially emerging economies. Objectives of such a zone would include regulatory convergence, maintenance of high standards in terms of data flows and privacy, cybersecurity cooperation, and creation of effective governance mechanisms.

As we navigate this AI-powered future, it is imperative to foster a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue that ensures the responsible development and deployment of AI for the betterment of humanity. Only through collective efforts can we shape AI's trajectory to create a more sustainable world.

Heather Liermann

Head of Department

Membership Engagement & Development