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01 October 2020

„The German AI Prize is a signal that the use of AI in business should be recognized and, above all, nurtured.”

WELT will award the "German AI Prize" for outstanding services to research and development as well as the application and commercialization of artificial intelligence for the second time in 2020. The Economic Development Agency Berlin Partner for Business and Technology supports the AI Special Award, which for the first time will honor young start-ups from the capital region for their innovative AI projects. Ahead of the event, #ki_berlin spoke with Amira Gutmann-Trieb, cluster manager for ICT, media and creative industries at Berlin Partner, about the importance of the award for the German technology industry, the development of the European AI landscape and the focus of Berlin’s AI scene.

With the German AI Prize, WELT honors innovators in the German industry with Europe's most valuable AI award. Does the prize also reflect the current optimistic mood in the economy to make greater use of future technologies such as AI?

Absolutely. The experiences from the Corona pandemic in particular show the potential of future technologies and have brought them closer to us all – directly to our everyday lives. Using it increases our ability to be resilient. The German AI Prize is a signal that entrepreneurial spirit and the use of AI in business should be recognized and, above all, nurtured.”

Berlin Partner supports a special award for the German KI Prize, for which young start-ups from the capital region could apply. How was the response to the award and which fields of application did the submission come from?

The response was strong and very positive. We received many excellent applications, so it was a real challenge for the jury to choose the finalists. AI is relevant for every branch of the economy and this was reflected in the applications – everything from medical applications to applications in consumer goods was represented.

As a cluster manager, you know the local scene like the back of your hand. How do you see Berlin's AI ecosystem in general – from research to start-ups and established companies – and what trends and developments do you see for the future?

I am convinced, it’s important not to rest on your laurels, especially when it comes to innovations, promising technologies and living structures such as ecosystems. The motto here is rather to lean forward, to keep trying and continue to be curious.

This also applies to the Berlin ecosystem: It is strong and diverse at the same time. In research, strengths are bundled and topics are well interlinked, as the emergence of the BIFOLD shows. The start-up scene is lively and diverse – we can be particularly proud of that, and this should be further supported and strengthened. Important trends and developments are to carry the application of AI even further into the economy, also to concentrate on the implementation at SMEs and to encourage established companies to integrate AI as an integral part of their processes. The premise continues to apply: promising technologies require financing and application in business in order to introduce companies and people to AI.

The focus of AI development in Berlin lays primarily on the areas of process management / business intelligence, health intelligence as well as mobility and city intelligence. What about other areas, such as arts and culture, the entertainment industry or retail?

The December edition of AI ​​Monday, an event which regularly brings the city’s AI scene together, particularly focused on AI and Art. The scene here in Berlin is alive with pioneers like Birds on Mars. I recently had the chance to meet Roman Lipski personally. Roman, as a native of Poland, chose Berlin to live and work here. Thanks to an algorithm that he calls his "AI Muse", he uses artificial intelligence as a source of inspiration. He is one of the pioneers and shows that AI is also used in arts and culture. In retail, and especially in the e-commerce sector, Zalando and Amazon use AI to evaluate their products.

Germany and Europe are repeatedly warned not to lose touch with the front runners USA and China in the field of artificial intelligence, others emphasize the pooling of resources, expertise and values ​​within Europe. What are the advantages of the Europe-wide AI approach for you and how does the Berlin location fit into it?

I think Europe understands the approach of cross-border cooperation. Berlin is heavily involved in Europe's city partnership, a good network is simply crucial for our city.

Europe is strong in research, Berlin pools the potential of our excellent research landscape and shows this by funding the BIFOLD center and the interlinking of the topics. Another eight professorships are being advertised and this naturally attracts talent from all over the world. The visa-free situation ensures that this talent also comes to Berlin and thus the ecosystem is again supported, which has a lively start-up scene here. The German AI Prize, which is being awarded for the second time this year, shows that excellence is recognized and that further financial support is important here in Berlin.

Thank you for your time.