KW 14: North Rhine-Westphalia supports AI researchers, ETF tracks stocks hyped on social media, AI reduces drug prescriptions


North Rhine-Westphalia supports AI researchers: Three researchers at the universities of Duisburg-Essen, Cologne and Bielefeld are receiving 525,000 euros in funding from the government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is the second round of the „AI starter“ funding program. The state government had previously funded researchers at the universities of Dortmund and Münster. The goal is to support scientific and economic progress through artificial intelligence with its funding line “Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning”.

Regional competence center KARL starts in Karlsruhe: The regional competence center „Artificial Intelligence for Work and Learning in the Karlsruhe Region“ (KARL) started work on April 1st. The project is funded by Germany’s education ministry and aims to develop “human-centered AI-supported work and learning systems”. The project will be funded with eight million euros over the first four years. In addition to the question of how to learn and work with AI, the focus will also be on ethnic and legal issues in the implementation of AI systems.

HAW Hamburg is researching more and more areas of AI application: At the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, AI research is being carried out in an increasing number of areas, including autonomous driving, safety technology and networked mobility. Tim Tiedemann, Professor of Intelligent Sensor Technology, explains that while AI and neural networks have so far had nothing to do with our brains, extremely intelligent machines are already being developed.

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ETF tracks stocks hyped on social media: Launched by VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment, a new ETF tracks the 75 stocks that are getting the most social media hype and packages them into an exchange-traded fund. BUZZ gathers its data through the Buzz NextGen AI US Sentiment Leaders Index, which tracks stocks with a $5 billion minimum market capitalization that have seen consistent and diverse mentions on social media over the past year. The index uses an algorithm that determines whether those comments are positive, negative, or neutral, then ranks each stock based on the degree of positive sentiment and breadth of discussion, according to the fund description.

AI reduces drug prescriptions: Incorrect diagnoses and unnecessary drug prescriptions can be prevented with the help of artificial intelligence. Up to 39 percent fewer antibiotics can be prescribed with the help of AI screening, according to a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). This could reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance and opens up the path for therapies that are more tolerable for sick patients.

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More than two thirds of European companies believe that AI is critical to the future of their business.


AI is becoming more important in industry – but requires more trained staff: In a recent interview, Global Manufacturing Lead Sebastian Seutter explained what role AI will play in industries in the future. This year alone, companies want to invest 9.5 billion euros in artificial intelligence and thereby gain competitive advantages. However, the expert pointed out that there are also significant challenges associated with this sort of progress: The type of work is changing as the boundaries between man and machine become more fluid. There is also a lack of trained staff. Employees‘ qualifications are becoming an essential component for the implementation of AI. In addition, data collection and processing pose another challenge.

AI experts are calling for less science fiction in the AI ​​debate: At the IDG roundtable „AI and Machine Learning“, Saskia Pauly (Accenture), Christian Klein (NTT Data), Martin Zeitler (Palo Alto Networks), Kay Knoche (Pegasystems), Markus Grau (Pure Storage) and Matthias Schmauch (Vectra) discussed the perception and opportunities of AI for the economy. The experts agreed that more realism is needed in the debate. Notions that AI could perform miraculous activities or even pose a threat to humans are false, according to the roundtable discussion. In Germany there is still too much abstract fear of the machine and the understanding that it is controlled by people is not very well developed. The assessment of what constitutes “intelligence” is also often discussed in an impartial manner. The advantages are obvious: AI can map and execute repetitive and structured processes – opportunities arise in both production and customer service.


AI Rescue to help rescue services: In the Lusatia region in Germany, the „AI Rescue“ project was created to support rescue medicine. The aim of the project is to identify areas of application and possibilities within the rescue service where AI can make work more efficient. This could save lives. With the aid of data, the steps from the ambulance to the emergency doctor could be optimized. After all, operational and quick strategic decisions are essential in emergencies. The project is funded with 100,000 euros from the German transport ministry.


„Artificial intelligence makes a huge contribution to the mobility transition.“
Sabina Jeschke, board member of Deutsche Bahn, on the topics of digitization and technology.


AI generates songs by Nirvana, The Doors and Amy Winehouse: An organization has created a “new” Nirvana song using artificial-intelligence software to approximate the singer-guitarist’s songwriting. Other than the vocals — the work of Nirvana tribute band frontman Eric Hogan — the song’s creators say nearly everything on the song, from the turns of phrase to the reckless guitar performance, is the work of computers. Their intention is to draw attention to the tragedy of Cobain’s death by suicide and how living musicians can get help with depression. The tune, titled “Drowned in the Sun,” is part of Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, a project featuring songs written and mostly performed by machines in the styles of other musicians who died at 27: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse. Each track is the result of AI programs analyzing up to 30 songs by each artist and granularly studying the tracks’ vocal melodies, chord changes, guitar riffs and solos, drum patterns, and lyrics to guess what their “new” compositions would sound like. The project is the work of Over the Bridge, a Toronto organization that helps members of the music industry struggling with mental illness.

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