AI Summit 2023 focuses on doom or boom aspects

SERIES on AI (2): Technology advancing rapidly – experts mull how to shape technology of the future
05 September 2023
KI-Serie Summit 2023 Stadt mit Herz Yvonne Scheller 3.9.

Urban planners, politicians and entrepreneurs focused on AI, the future of Hamburg and more sustainable work and lifestyles during this year's, ThIS! (The Interface Society) on Thursday (August 31, 2023). Held in co-operation with the University of Hamburg in the Catholic Academy, the festival also featured a prompt-a-thon to create various images of the future. (Similar to a hack-a-thon, a prompt-a-thon is a hands-on AI workshop in which people experiment with generative AI.)  "The city with the heart won," said Prof. Dr Tilo Böhmann, IT Management and Consulting, University of Hamburg, when presenting the results. AI had been used to visualize the Port of Hamburg in 2040 in the shape of a heart to make a functioning coexistence of nature and technology as vivid as possible. Achieving such a result was by no means easy as it took several attempts before humans and AI "got along". Formulating commands for AI technology is an art in itself. "Of course, the results are utopian. But they open up the horizon for completely new ways of thinking," he added.

Generative AI changing everything

Shaping a secure future seems more volatile than ever. Generative AI produces text and images on its own and has certainly played a role therein. Super chatbots like Chat GPT have disproved the long-held belief that AI cannot create on its own. Yet, anything seems possible today. Given this backdrop, talks and workshops at the AI Summit revolved around the theme of "AI as Doom or Boom?" as the technology has the potential to revolutionise entire industries and sectors, said Martina Warning, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. Hamburg is already seizing the potential of AI, said Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator of Economics, as the city is now one of four model regions for AI start-ups announced by the German Ministry of Economics and Energy. When Christian Bruss, AI trainer at the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Hamburg, asked whether AI meant doom or upswing for the labour market, the audience tended towards doom. Bruss, however, quoted the U.S. economist Richard Baldwin and pointed out: "AI will not take your job. Someone using AI will take your job!"

Ki-Serie, KI-Summit 2023, Christian Bruss, Yvonne Scheller, 3.9.
© Yvonne Scheller
Christian Bruss, AI trainer at Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Hamburg
Ki-Serie, Summit 2023, ARIC-Gründer Alois Krtil, Yvonne Scheller, 3.9
© Yvonne Scheller
Alois Krtil, founder of ARIC

Using technology beneficially 

Alois Krtil, founder of ARIC, came out in favour of using AI responsibly (RAI). "It is up to us how we use AI. We have the wheel in our hands. So let's use technology beneficially with responsible AI." A panel discussion on "Building Trust in Generative AI - Responsible Use in the Creative Era" highlighted the many fascinating possibilities of the technology. Michelle Gutting, Head of Marketing at LUIS Technology, stressed: "AI gives us a tool for highly personalised marketing that the industry is really excited about. However, there is a fine line between potential customer manipulation." Thus, technical expertise is important.  "Marketing managers must understand the technology and how it functions to use it ethically while adhering to data protection guidelines."

More obvious AI 

Dr Lothar Hotz, CEO of HITeC e.V., highlighted the need for more transparency. "AI has to become more obvious. And it must become clear how algorithms arrive at their results." Several research projects are already underway into explainable AI. Benedikt Gietl, Head of AI@Public Sector and Senior Consultant at Sopra Steria's branch in Hamburg, added: "We need to develop tools that disclose which sources algorithms use. Then, technology could help control technology.” However, in terms of sufficient time, Pia Cuk, Chief Science Officer at AdaLab AI, said: "We cannot wait ten or 15 years for explainable AI to be a reality. The question of economic feasibility remains." AI in technical processes will soon be a matter of course. "Then a mention in the imprint will suffice."

Ki-Serie, Summit 2023, Panel, Yvonne Scheller 3.9.
© Yvonne Scheller
Anke Nehrenberg, presenter; Dr. Lothar Hotz, HITeC; Benedikt Gietl, Sopra Steria; Michelle Gutting, LUIS Technology and Pia Cuk, CSO AdaLab AI
KI-Serie, KI-Summit 2023, Hendrik Reese, AI-Experte und Partner bei PwC, Yvonne Scheller, 3.9
© Yvonne Scheller
Hendrik Reese, AI expert and partner at PwC

New “Made in Germany”

Dealing with artificial intelligence comes naturally to Generation Z and does not need to be emphasised, said Gutting. Yet, RAI's worth cannot be overstated, even if its practical implementation requires patience. "We may be falling behind the international competition somewhat because we are limiting ourselves in terms of RAI. But that can change and give Germany a competitive edge. Safe products create trust." Most successful AI innovations originated in the United States with Google and IBM among the pioneers. Chat GPT was developed by the U.S. company Open AI, and funded mainly by Microsoft. Hendrik Reese, an AI expert and partner at PwC, pointed out: “Now, we have the chance to set up a new 'Made in Germany'. Germany is known for quality.  Let's prove it with AI as well." Given Hamburg’s infrastructure of AI stakeholders and universities, the city is predestined to play a major role therein.


Read the other parts in our AI series:

1) Hamburg clearly an AI hotspot, says Alois Krtil