FutureWork360 goes to silicon valley

Conference in Mountain View.

In the race to develop AI technology, how can Germany keep pace with China and the USA? By forging a powerful transatlantic network. This was the message to emerge from the “Transatlantic Sync. Germany & Silicon Valley” conference in Mountain View, California, where Fraunhofer IAO and Fraunhofer IPA showcased their joint project FutureWork360.

When it comes to big innovations in IT and other high-tech industries, the focus soon turns to sunny California. Silicon Valley is home to the Internet giants Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, along with a host of other tech companies. In terms of new developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), the startup scene in the Bay Area leads the way, closely followed by China. Yet the U.S. tech community is very open to forging stronger links across the Atlantic. And that’s something that Germany might exploit as it looks to consolidate its standing in the world market for AI. This was one of the key messages to emerge from the conference “Transatlantic Sync. Germany & Silicon Valley: Shaping a shared digital future”, which was held in Mountain View, CA. Participating in the conference were Fraunhofer IAO and Fraunhofer IPA, who presented their joint project FutureWork360 and, with it, research on tomorrow’s world of work. This project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its research marketing campaign under the banner of “The Future of Work.” Using virtual reality technology, exhibits on show in real-world labs in Stuttgart are made available, via an online platform, to a wider research audience, irrespective of time and place.

Leading representatives from the digital economy, the research community, and government agencies discussed opportunities for cooperation between cutting-edge research in Germany and the innovation hub in Silicon Valley. In the main, this concerns the areas of AI, robotics and other emerging digital technologies. The week-long trip provided the Fraunhofer team with valuable input. According to Yeama Bangali, multichannel-content manager on the FutureWork360 project: “The really great thing about the Silicon Valley innovation cluster is its highly positive startup mentality, the close links between established companies and the startup scene, and the university environment, which has an eye towards entrepreneurship.” The result is a creative atmosphere with a keen business focus. That’s a highly successful mix that stronger links between Silicon Valley and cutting-edge AI research in Germany could also help to foster back home.