According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 198.178 people have tested to be infected with the Covid 19 virus during the corona pandemic in Germany (as of Juli, 10th).
Cameras and sensors monitor the automated manufacturing process and robots intervene and rectify faults in an emergency. Drones fly through the factory and replenish supplies of material. If the warehouse is empty, software automatically orders more. Workers are nowhere to be seen. This is what the smart factory of the future looks like, and it has already become a reality in some German companies today. Machines, software and robots are linked together through superfast Internet connections. They communicate, learn from one another and identify products with the aid of RFID chips. However, Industry 4.0 is not only about machines manufacturing products autonomously and automatically. The fourth industrial revolution also says farewell to industrial mass production for anonymous customers. Instead individualised individualized products can be made to order in accordance with the customer’s needs. When an order is received at the factory, the software programs the production line. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the systems learn something new every time they process an order. Manufacturing for specific customers rather than the warehouse is cheaper and more ecological. Since most products are becoming increasingly digitaliseddigitized, it is also becoming increasingly rare for a business relationship to end with the sale of a finished product. Instead, hybrid products are being sold including services such as software updates and maintenance. The latest German technology for the smart factory is the digital floor. Equipped with electricity and data cables, it can supply and control the robots. That does away with the need for powerful batteries and complex positioning systems. Manufacturing systems can also be controlled through the floor and production lines modified as required. All the components in the smart factory are connected, flexible and mobile. Only the factory building itself is immovable – for the time being at least.
"We want to advance the digitalization of the economy and society". This was the goal formulated by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at the launch of the German EU Council Presidency, whose programme focuses on "digital sovereignty as the leitmotif of European digital policy". One aim is that fields of innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technology will "increase our prosperity, protect our security, and preserve our values in fair competition". With regard to data protection among other things, the Federal Government's AI strategy, which was adopted at the end of 2018, already stated that "Europe must not only demonstrate its technological performance and exploit its market strength, but also go on the offensive in promoting its values in order to help shape international rules and set standards in the EU."
"Twenty years ago, I would spend days searching through ten CDs for a scientific paper," says Angelo Pio Rossi, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Jacobs University, Bremen. Today he uses servers and cloud services – also, for example, to store produced geodata and to make it available to others. But when a research project ends, two problems arise, says the planetary scientist: "I can't update the data because that might incur new costs, and my data are not so easy for potential users to find."
As Germany's highest data protection officer, Professor Ulrich Kelber is committed to the best possible protection of personal data also at European level. He took up his post as Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI) in January 2019. By then, the European Union's most important instrument for comprehensive data protection had already been in force for several months: the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR). It has modernized data protection at the European level and adapted the protection of privacy to new technologies and types of data processing. In an interview, Ulrich Kelber takes stock of two years of the EU-GDPR.
Brussels (dpa) – A week after the start of Germany’s EU Council Presidency, Wednesday will see Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel present her programme to the European Parliament in Brussels. This is the CDU politician’s first trip abroad since the outbreak of the corona crisis. Merkel will be giving a speech to EU parliamentarians in the afternoon and taking questions. In the evening, Merkel will attend a meeting with EU leaders to discuss the EU’s next seven-year EU budget plan and the planned post-corona economic recovery programme. Finding a compromise for the multi-billion package is the first major challenge for the Council Presidency that began on 1 July.
During these last five intense years as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, I have had the privilege of seeing Europe through our partners’ eyes. And yes, I have seen contradictions and shortcomings. But most of all, I have seen through the eyes of the rest of the world, what we Europeans today tend to forget, to take for granted: that with all our problems and limits, with all the things we have to change and improve, we are still ‘the place to be’. Our European Union is today the best place where you can live, on earth.