The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) intends to use international cooperation in education and research to provide answers to what jobs will be like in the future when people and machines will work more closely together and robots and artificial intelligence will be part of our working lives in such diverse areas as industry, nursing care and agriculture.
Via video message, Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, inaugurated the first 'BMBF Forum International', which was specifically launched to strengthen Germany's international research links.
This first Forum from 21 to 22 May focused on the topic 'The Future of Work' and featured international keynote speakers such as the well-known economist Dr Daniel Susskind of Oxford University and 250 further representatives of academic and research institutions, government and industry. Together they tried to identify potential synergies and bring together strategies to develop solutions for the challenges of the digitalised work of the future.
One of the highlights was the accompanying interactive exhibition with numerous German and international projects and innovations from the areas of digitalisation and automation as well as artificial intelligence and robotics. Promising products and research projects on the topics of big data, ethical issues, psychology, health, social security and legal aspects in the digital working world were all featured.
'The Future of Work' is also the focus of the latest international BMBF campaign, which was also kicked off on 21 May 2019. With the launch of this campaign, Federal Minister Karliczek has sent ten top-class German research networks in the field of Work 4.0 on an 18-month world tour to discuss solutions for our future working worlds with renowned colleagues at conferences and other events and also at institutes and robotics laboratories in France, Japan and the United States.
In Japan, for example, German researchers will be finding out how socially interactive robots help residents and their family members in nursing homes; in France virtual reality made in Germany is helping to achieve breakthrough innovations in the plastics-processing industry, and in the USA, automation and artificial intelligence are improving efficiency and environmental protection and worker safety in commercial laundries, for example when robotic arms equipped with sensors automatically remove scalpels from dirty hospital laundry.
The Forum will be held every two years to promote synergies in international cooperation on research and development and to bring together the answers of German and international research to pressing issues of relevance for the future.