The federal government is using artificial intelligence more frequently

Applications of AI

Congressional Applications – The federal government will use artificial intelligence more frequently

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in federal ministries and agencies is on the rise. This is evident from the federal government's response to a parliamentary question by digital politician Anke Domscheid-Berg (Left), obtained by the Deutsche Presse-Agency. According to the response, the number of AI projects and applications implemented within a year doubled from around 100 to more than 212.

The use of AI varies widely by ministry. The Ministry of Economy and Climate, led by Deputy Prime Minister Robert Habeck (Green Party), has been at the forefront with 44 projects. The ministry is using AI for general purposes like text analysis and transcription. It also helps specialist agencies like the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources with tasks like rock analysis and soil profile photo analysis.

The Ministry of the Interior, led by Nancy Faser (SPD), comes in second with 40 AI projects. The ministry uses AI for video data analysis and railway station security. The Federal Criminal Office is experimenting with AI for fingerprint and facial recognition. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) uses AI for cybersecurity and IT protection for the federal government.

Of the federal government’s 212 AI projects, 70% are being carried out by the four main AI departments.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (35) comes in third in terms of the number of AI applications. Here, AI is used to detect forest fires more quickly and effectively. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (30) comes in fourth. The German Weather Service (DWD), which comes under the auspices of Digital Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), is an active user of AI. The DWD mainly uses AI to improve climate models and for weather and climate forecasting. 70% of the federal government's 212 AI projects are taking place in the four main AI ministries.

The federal government's response does not make it clear whether and to what extent the Ministry of Defence uses AI systems, but the 2023 budget allocates €16 million for AI in the Bundeswehr, and it is publicly known that the armed forces have an AI research lab.

Black Box: German Armed Forces and Intelligence

The federal government cannot provide insight into the use of AI by intelligence agencies such as the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the Military Counterintelligence Office (MAD) or the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), as this information is “classified for reasons of national security,” the response states.

Domscheid-Berg criticized the way the federal government is actually approaching AI: “What was previously described as a fairly analogue administration has a dark side to what initially seemed like a push for innovation.” The federal government's response reveals the lack of an implementation strategy for this risky technology: “There is still no progress to be made when it comes to building capacities and creating a planned support structure.”

There is no single place that provides an overview of AI use in the federal government, Domscheid-Berg said. A long-promised AI advisory center is still in the planning stages. There is a lack of binding guidelines on criteria and processes for risk assessment, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, etc.

  1. Although the Federal Government’s response on the use of AI does not explicitly mention the Bundeswehr, the allocation of €16 million for AI in the Bundeswehr suggests some implementation.
  2. Deputy Chancellor Robert Harbeck heads the Ministry of Economics and Climate, which has the most AI projects of any federal ministry.
  3. A related federal agency, the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, is using AI for tasks such as rock analysis and soil profile photo analysis.
  4. Digital Minister Nancy Faser of the SPD heads the Interior Ministry, which has the second-highest number of AI projects.
  5. The BKA, an agency under the Federal Ministry of the Interior, is experimenting with AI for fingerprint and facial recognition.
  6. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture is third in the number of AI applications, with AI being used to detect forest fires faster and more effectively.
  7. The German Press Agency has obtained the federal government's response to a parliamentary question about the use of AI posed by digital politician Anke Domscheid-Berg (Left).
  8. The SDP, a German political party, is headed by Digital Minister Vasser, who is actively involved in managing AI projects within the federal government.
  9. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is one of the federal government agencies using AI to strengthen cybersecurity and protect IT infrastructure.
  10. The Bundestag has expressed an interest in the use of AI in various federal ministries and agencies, and digital politician Anke Domscheid-Berg (Left) is running an inquiry into the matter.

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