[German Thought Leaders]
How corporates and startups are setting the tone for the future and applying AI technology in an exemplary manner.
Artificial intelligence, the big driver of digitalization, inescapably affects every economy, society, and nation. The perception that countries like the US or China will rule this technology, with Germany being left behind in the process, is widespread and persistent. The challenge is real. But pessimism or abandoning the subject altogether would not only be counterproductive at this point but also wrong. What we are actually seeing is the emergence of a German AI ecosystem shaped by artificial intelligence thought leaders. Existing German startups are bringing real world solutions to problems through the outstanding use of technology. Corporates are confronted with AI transformation in a unique way. The German Thought Leaders campaign wants to send a strong signal to the public, showing that German role models for applying AI already exist. Highlighting the best, most brilliant players in the field, we intend to build momentum in terms of confidence and progress. This campaign will give insight into “how AI application works,” delivering first-hand knowledge of noteworthy AI practitioners in Germany. Let’s learn from German thought leaders.
What is a thought leader? In our view, a thought leader is a company that applies artificial intelligence in an exemplary manner. A doer, taking action that has an impact and using the technology to benefit products, processes, and people. German enterprises competing on a world scale and advancing our country and Europe in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.
How does AI application work for them?
A selection of brilliant companies and implementations that have caught our attention.
GERMAN THOUGHT LEADER
Micropsi Industries: Making robotics a plug-and-play component to advance German SMEs
micropsi industries is a German thought leader in the field of artificial intelligence. The robotics software company, which is located in Berlin, uses machine learning to control robots in dynamic industrial settings and is thus working towards enabling intelligent industrial automation in our numerous SMEs, and advancing the German economy as a whole. micropsi’s solution allows existing systems to be easily upgraded.
Today, robots in production are relatively dumb, clumsy, and generally need to be programmed in advance to carry out any particular task. They struggle to manage in situations characterized by a lot of variance, such as the insertion of cables or the processing of soft material. micropsi provides an AI system composed of software, a controller, and a camera, making robotics application in these scenarios possible.
The technological component, the software, is called Mira. It is an artificial intelligence system that is trained by human demonstration and teaches the robot in real time to imitate tactile and visual behavior in a large spectrum of unpredictable industrial use cases. Deep neural networks learn to discern the configurations of images and sensor data that result from highly specific contexts and translate them into commands for the movement of the robot. In this way, micropsi is pushing the boundaries of what is possible at the intersection between humans and machines. The product benefits workers and, at the same time, improves value creation in manufacturing.
We visited the micropsi team in their office in Berlin. Alexander Waldmann, Operative Director at appliedAI met Ronnie Vuine, founder of micropsi industries. Ronnie who has an academic background in computer science and philosophy from his studies at Humboldt University, leads a growing team of over 15 people. Machines that interact autonomously with the world around us have always been a passion for the serial entrepreneur, who has a thing for science fiction.
In contrast, his business view on AI is rather sober. “It’s not a magic black box, it’s just math,” he stated. “You simply need to be on top of it.” Thus, a critical component for him is having the right people on board at his startup, micropsi, who are capable of understanding and dissecting research papers. Of which, interestingly, most of the content is often too specific and therefore not applicable to real world industrial settings – a key learning he shared with us at appliedAI.
Having a strong theoretical understanding is important – but not enough. This is why the founder is bridging the gap to industry in the product development process and getting a feel for the challenges in the practical environment in which his product will be used. “We can come up with a lot of interesting things on a white board in a nice office in Berlin. But what I do a lot is walk through factories looking at how people are doing things and asking ‘could we automate this, could we be more efficient here, could we raise the quality?’ It’s a matter of being out there and having the conversation with the people who have the problems,” Ronnie explained.
More insights in the video.