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The FAZ reported from Davos on January 17: “On the key panels discussing the future of artificial intelligence (AI), there are hardly any Germans or even Europeans represented.” This is despite the fact that everyone is aware of what Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, was quoted as saying in Davos by the FAZ: “Generative AI is developing ten times faster than all comparable major digital technologies of the past”.

We still have a great opportunity to use AI to renew Germany as an industrial location. Because if you take a closer look at what the big names in international AI see as potential in Davos, you quickly realize that they are still largely overlooking the huge potential for AI in industrial manufacturing. And there are good reasons for this.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is asked where something is still being overlooked, i.e. where there are still opportunities? The FAZ summarizes his answers: “‘What AI can do for science’, says Nadella. (…) He also mentions ‘humanoid robots’ and ‘autonomous driving’ – and German mechanical engineers and car manufacturers would still have opportunities there too. They would just have to seize them.” He does not say ‘Automation’!

Microsoft is one of the main providers of cloud and AI platforms (Azure, ChatGPT), which also play a central role in the manufacturing industry worldwide. And yet, even the market leader’s huge presence at industrial trade fairs in Germany has not yet led to AI finding its way into core industrial processes via Microsoft. Why? Because Microsoft knows its way around the mass market and consumer goods, but not machines and control systems in automation.

WEF 2019 (Stockphoto 123rf)

Bosch Rexroth, Rittal, Weidmüller, WAGO and other automation experts are the ones setting the tone in the digitalization of manufacturing. And if not everything is deceptive, it will be these companies that will be able to exploit the potential of AI for the manufacturing industry very quickly. Then ‘only’ the customers, i.e. the user industry, will have to play along and make full use of the new technologies.

Perhaps the FAZ will then be able to report something else from Davos in 2025. For example: “Germany in demand as a pioneer for industrial AI on numerous panels.” Let’s hope so.