AI in small and medium-sized enterprises – economic authority publishes study on responsible use

July 17, 2023

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasing role. The AI Act, which is currently being drafted at the European level, is expected to define further requirements for the use of the technology from next year. A study commissioned by the business authority sheds light on the requirements for responsible use and provides a structure that companies can use to check what action they need to take.

The study focuses on the impact of the planned regulation on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the city. Due to the risk-based approach of the AI Act, every use of AI will require an assessment of which risk level the planned applications are to be assigned to and which of the expected legal requirements result from the role of the company. An early approach by companies to these questions regarding the development and use of AI can therefore avoid economic risks and secure the competitiveness of Hamburg SMEs in the European single market as well. With a test scheme, which is presented as part of the study, companies can arrive at an initial assessment in this regard.

In addition to the legal provisions, social needs for the responsible use of AI also arise within democratic constitutional states. The transformation associated with digitalisation must not perpetuate or reinforce existing patterns of discrimination. A responsible approach to AI is therefore important both for the acceptance of its use in different fields and for the economic actions of companies.

Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Business and Innovation: “It is clear that artificial intelligence will play an increasing role. Among other things, the technology helps to increase productivity, open up new markets, and make business processes more efficient and effective. This innovation requires responsible use. In Hamburg, an extensive ecosystem of companies, science facilities and institutions is emerging that bundle competence around the topic of AI and benefit from each other.”

The study serves as orientation for Hamburg’s economy in the current phase of increasing regulation, standardisation, definition of standards and business models in connection with AI.

It was written on behalf of the Ministry of Economics and Innovation in cooperation with the Artificial Intelligence Center Hamburg e. V. and the LawCom Institute, which will continue to contribute their expertise as contact and advisory points in the future.

Alois Kritl, Artificial Intelligence Center e. V. (ARIC): “AI plays a decisive role for the positive development of our business location now and in the future. For AI to have the impact we hope for, we must ensure that we develop and use the technology responsibly and according to the highest ethical, legal and technical standards. Only in this way will the necessary innovation emerge as a key success factor of Europe’s increasingly knowledge-based societies.”

Friedrich-Joachim Mehmel, LawCom Institute: “Hamburg recognised early on that the use of AI not only has a technical dimension, but also a legal, normative dimension at the same time. Hamburg, its companies and administration can be pioneers for the socially responsible use of AI and already initiate concrete implementation steps in the run-up to the AI Act, which will soon come into force. Social relevance is increasingly gaining central importance for the evaluation of all innovation measures.”


The full text of the study is available at Further documents and materials will be made available there successively.

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