What has happened so far: 12 headlines about AI from 2019

8 March 2020
AI annual review 2019
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Required reading: 5 minutes


If you read the headlines from January 2019, you will find an old familiar theme again: Does AI create jobs or does technology destroy jobs? There is still no answer to this question in the new year. More precise are the news about the new AI & Ethics Institute from Facebook at the TU Munich, whose financing will be announced on January 20. 

"Facebook sponsors an AI and Ethics Research Institute"



February demonstrates the differences between the Chinese and German approach to AI. While the People's Republic reports on AI-driven software that diagnoses children's diseases better than young doctors, Germany argues about the national AI strategy. Ethics, data protection and a lack of worldview are the issues that concern German politics.

"AI strategy: Bundestag argues about measures, goals, ethics in artificial intelligence"



The economy is already one step ahead and will present everything that is smart at the Hanover Fair in March. The Handelsblatt even speaks of a "Homage to the performance of the machines”. The Chancellor is proud of the factories of the future and emphasizes that industry and IT belong together.

"5G and AI: How industry envisions the factory of the future"

Trade journal


The assessment of the engineers concerned is not quite as optimistic as that of Angela Merkel. In a survey published in April, two-thirds of the respondents stated that Germany lacks the competence to use AI at all. They are also unsure what the government's AI strategy means for them. At the same time the National Center for Tumor Diseases announces in Heidelberg that a computer competed against 157 dermatologists and was more precise in the diagnosis of skin cancer. "Only seven of the 157 dermatologists scored better than the algorithm. 14 achieved equally good results and 136 had worse results."

"Engineers warn of disaster with artificial intelligence"



What works online at Amazon must also work in retail, thinks the electronics group Ceconomy in May 2019, and the new, centralized pricing strategy relies on data analysis and artificial intelligence for the Media Markt and Saturn brands. The aim is to put the slightly battered company back on track and to slow down the strong online competition.

"Artificial intelligence to improve Ceconomy's pricing strategy"



In the summer of 2019, the G20 ministers in Tsukuba, Japan, will agree for the first time on basic principles for AI. Legal principles, human rights and basic democratic rights are to be protected. Two weeks later calls the chancellor in Meseberg, Brandenburg, is encouraging more openness in dealing with AI. Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz adds that one must "use the possibilities of AI, but avoid disadvantages, especially for jobs".

"G20 ministers first agree on principles for AI"

The Time


The 2019 summer slump will be filled with games, fun and art. The software Pluribus, developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook, beats five poker players and makes headlines. A survey conducted by the industry association gfu in the run-up to the IFA shows that the Germans' attitude towards AI is predominantly positive - a clear difference from last year. Smart devices have long been part of the population's everyday life, especially in the entertainment sector. Meanwhile, in Oxford, the humanoid robot Ai-Da paints everything that comes under his or her camera eyes. The time is discussed: Is it still art?

"Where is artificial intelligence taking art?"

The Time


A convincing use case for AI dominates the news in August: Child pornography is to be detected and exposed more quickly thanks to smart technology. The software not only relieves policewomen, but also recognizes the faces of victims and perpetrators. The Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Central Office for Cybercrime NRW (ZAC) have been working on the project with Microsoft and other experts since 2017 and have now presented the first results.

"Artificial intelligence to expose child pornography faster"

The mirror


In late summer, two experts take up the January topic: Is AI dangerous or not? The two tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jack Ma have an attention-grabbing argument in Shanghai. While Alibaba founder Ma is convinced of the potential of AI and sees advantages for mankind, Tesla founder Musk is rather pessimistic. He warns that computers could become smarter than humans and that this could lead to dangers. The only thing the two agree on is that human mortality is an advantage. Because it ensures that new generations will approach future challenges with a fresh perspective.


The ethics institute at the TU Munich, financed by Facebook, will be opened on 7 October and celebrated in the media. Matching the topic of ethics, a new research project of the Ministry of Justice NRW is announced. There, an AI-based software is to be developed that prevents suicides in prison. For this purpose, the system must be able to detect potentially harmful objects (knife, rope, etc.) as well as emotions. The 160,000 euro research project will first be tested in a test room with students in Chemnitz.

"Using artificial intelligence to prevent suicides in prison"

Süddeutsche Zeitung


The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BAMS) announces the establishment of a TÜV for artificial intelligence. The so-called AI observatory is the first step towards an independent Federal Institute for AI. The main focus will be on cases in working and economic life, such as autonomous driving. In case of emergency, a ban can also be issued. However, the observatory will also evaluate the chances of AI. This will be done in close cooperation with the European Commission and OECD.

Ministry of Labour creates TÜV for artificial intelligence

The Time


The year ends with celebratory music: Deutsche Telekom, in cooperation with composer and pianist Robert Levin, developed an algorithm to complete Beethoven's unfinished 10th symphony. The piece will be premiered in Bonn in April 2020. It is completely unclear what the final outcome will be. A template was created in early 2019, when Franz Schubert's 8th Symphony in B minor was completed by AI.

Artificial intelligence to complete Beethoven's unfinished work

The mirror

Also look at the article about the headlines in 2018.

photo by Lora Ohanessian on Unsplash

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