Darmstadt’s mayor relies on AI as a location advantage

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One goal of a new association is to educate people about artificial intelligence (AI): One of the patrons is Jochen Partsch.

Merck, Software AG and TU Darmstadt are among the 70 members currently.  Symbolic picture: Lee / stock.adobe

Merck, Software AG and TU Darmstadt are among the 70 members currently. Symbolic picture: Lee / stock.adobe

DARMSTADT – artificial intelligence, robots, algorithms – many people know little about these topics, and that’s no different in Darmstadt. It is therefore important to educate and inform. This was the aim of the AI ​​Frankfurt Rhein-Main association, which was founded in October. The patron is Darmstadt’s mayor Jochen Partsch (Greens), together with his Frankfurt colleague Peter Feldmann (SPD).

AI stands for artificial intelligence, a sub-area of ​​computer science that deals with the automation of intelligent behavior and machine learning. “It is the technology that will change our lives a lot,” says club chairman Alfred Ermer. There are many companies in the Rhein-Main area that deal with the fact that Darmstadt is also a very important location. At the presentation of the association in the Darmstadtium on Wednesday, Jochen Partsch made it clear that it was a matter of course for him that Darmstadt was there.

Merck, Software AG and TU Darmstadt are among the 70 members currently. In any case, says Partsch, the collaboration between science, business and society is nothing new – “we have been doing this in Darmstadt for a long time”.

But what exactly does membership of the club bring to the city? Partsch says: It strengthens the cooperation between science and economy, helps to further develop the location competence, and it “ensures that we are smart and informed.”

And how should people be convinced by AI who are more critical of these developments? The best way is to develop concrete offers, according to the OB. One example is smart technologies in waste disposal, in which a chip on the bin signals when the waste has to be picked up. Partsch sees another possibility in the development of digital mobility aids that show how to avoid traffic jams in the Rhine-Main area – and that provide information on how to reach your destination cheaply, ecologically and quickly.

But what is still absolutely necessary when it comes to the use of algorithms, according to Partsch, are ethical guidelines. “It is important to work on it.” In the new association, Professor Michael Waidner, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, is responsible for this.

In his opinion, in order to take away concerns and fears from people, it is important to explain to them what artificial intelligence is and to show them what it can be good for. For example, his institute is working on using algorithms to uncover and expose fake news on the Internet.

“We have to show what’s going on today,” Alfred Ermer sums up the goals. But one thing must also be clear: the association is ultimately not a one-way street, but rather relies on the active exchange between business and research.

This article was originally published on 02.07.2020 at 02:00 a.m.

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