In a virtual press conference today, the office of the Hessian Minister of Digital Strategy and Development and VDE announced the establishment of Germany’s first AI Quality & Testing Hub. Prof. Kristina Sinemus, Digital Minister of the Federal State of Hesse, and Prof. Armin Schnettler, President of VDE (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies), issued a joint declaration regarding the plan. The aim of the initiative is to promote the quality of AI systems and make this property verifiable. The “AI made in Hesse” brand is also to be strengthened. The hub therefore combines research and development as well as standardization and certification under one roof in order to put AI systems to the test. VDE has an important role to play in solving testing challenges with a cross-sectoral approach to make it possible to verify the quality of AI systems.
Artificial intelligence, Hesse and VDE
Hesse has the infrastructure and the potential to become the center of AI quality testing – the state already has a well-developed AI landscape and offers a vibrant AI ecosystem for scientific institutions, startups and SMEs. Important strategic structures already in place in Hesse include the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence (Hessian.AI) and the Centre Responsible Digitality (ZEVEDI), in particular. The state of Hesse is investing more than €45 million in this area between now and the year 2024.
VDE also has proven expertise in the field of AI, such as in standardization and science with its renowned specialist societies. For example, VDE and its DKE standardization organization provided the chair of the European standardization organization CEN-CENELEC’s AI focus group, which develops the foundations of European norms and standards for AI. They also supplied the chair of the international evaluation group IEC SEG10, which is developing a basis on which to standardize the ethics of AI and autonomous systems at international level. At national level, DKE develops frameworks and standards for the life cycle management of cognitive systems as well as the practical implementation of AI ethics. The VDE Institute in Offenbach is a globally recognized institution for testing and certifying the quality and safety of technologically promising products.
The four pillars of the AI Quality & Testing Hub
The AI Quality & Testing Hub in Hesse is based on four pillars:
- Testing & inspections are among VDE’s core tasks. In addition to various test and simulation environments as well as testing laboratories, this also includes the research and continuous development of the technical foundations required for properties such as auditability, traceability, robustness and security.
- Regulation covers the legal framework for AI experiment rooms, where AI applications will be developed and tested under real conditions in order to prepare them for practical use. Importantly, the basic principles for conformity assessments are also to be established.
- Competencies aims to accelerate knowledge exchange and transfer between scientists and regulatory authorities as well as the development of AI quality competence among customers and operators in business and administration. This will involve a variety of formats, such as the formation of overarching expert networks.
- Change reflects the transformative character of AI and encompasses support for companies as well as events, communication measures and showrooms related to AI quality.
All four pillars are ultimately based on the initial or further development of suitable standards at national, European and international level.