In November 2022, the European Charlemagne Labour Forum took place in Aachen - in cooperation with the Charlemagne Society. Based on the European Commission's proposal for a law on AI, the topic of this year’s forum was Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world of work. Together with labour policy actors from all over Europe trustworthy AI, challenges and opportunities as well as lifelong learning in the context of AI and the question how AI innovation can be promoted in Europe was discussed. The agenda of this event is available here.
We had the opportunity to launch the European Charlemagne Labour Forum in the impressing Coronation Hall of the City of Aachen. Between the historic walls we discussed together with our panelists and guests the challenges and opportunities of AI at the workplace. After Dr. Barbara Hendricks (Member of the FES Board of Directors) and Sibylle Keupen (Mayor of Aachen)and opened the evening, Prime Minister of Saarland Anke Rehlinger stated in her keynote speech the need to invest more in training and education to increase the competence of workers and she underlined the fact that in Europe, we need more women IT jobs. It was agreed upon the panelists Prof. Dr. Ing. Verena Nitsch (Director Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics), Marcus Merheim (Founder hooman EMPLOYER MARKETING, Executive Board Future World of Work at German Association for the Digital Economy) and Anke Rehlinger that AI can only get successfully implemented at work the workplace if it is accepted by the workforce.
Within four panels our experts discussed the various aspects of AI at the workplace. We started the day together with Prof. Dr. Ing. Verena Nitsch (Director Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics) Aída Ponce Del Castillo (Senior Researcher ETUI), Stefan Gran (Senior Advisor ETUC) Nick Woischneck (Zukunftszentrum KI NRW, IG Metall NRW) and the question whether AI is more of a curse or a blessing. Various uses of AI at the workplace were presented as well as the challenges and opportunities AI holds for the European workforce, but also for companies.
Since the issue of trustworthiness of AI is one of the main aspects in the context of the European AI Act, we discussed in our second panel, together with Dr. Anne Mollen (AlgorithmWatch), Oliver Roethig (Regional Secretary UNI Europa) and Sophia Greulich (IBM Germany) what trustworthy AI should look like and how it can be implemented across Europe. Brando Benifei (MEP) who was one rapporteur for the AI Act opened the Panel with a keynote speech. One of the essentials was that transparency & codetermination are key to implement trustworthy AI.
The third panel was dedicated to Europe as an innovation center. In order for Europe to take a sovereign position between the USA and China in the context of digital transformation, innovation in Europe must be promoted, also and especially in the context of AI. Juha Heikkilä (Advisor for Artificial Intelligence DG CONNECT) and Dr. Christian Kellermann (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) shared their expertise with us. It became clear that digital innovation needs to become more understandable, available and needs to take the demand side into consideration.
We ended the day by discussing how workers can be made fit for dealing with AI. Together with Stefan Olsson (Deputy Director General DG EMPL), Kristin Keveloh (Senior Lead Manager, Public Policy & Economic Graph, LinkedIn) and Marcus Merheim (Founder hooman EMPLOYER MARKETING, Executive Board Future World of Work at German Association for the Digital Economy) we debated, among other things, how the training needs of workers in Europe can be identified and how different actors can work together on this issue.
The next European Charlemagne Labour Forum takes place in 2023.