The Federal Council has rejected a proposal for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in decision-making in public administration. However, other recommendations for the reform of the online access law of the federal government, such as the demand for more uniform data management, received majority support. The Bundesrat committees called for the new Online Access Act to standardize the use of algorithm-based decision-making and preparation in public administration.
The committees argued that waiting for the European process on AI regulations would slow down the use of AI in the public sector in Germany. The European Union’s planned set of rules, known as the Artificial Intelligence Act, is not expected to come into force for at least two years.
Domestic politician Misbah Khan highlighted the importance of transparency in decision-making, stating that decisions made by public administration must be understandable and self-learning systems are not free from discrimination. For example, if someone receives a rejection for housing benefit, they should be able to understand why their application was rejected. Moreover, procedures can be streamlined and simplified without relying on AI.
On the other hand, Parliamentary State Secretary Daniela Kluckert emphasized the support for the use of AI in administration, as it can automate standardized processes and give employees more time to focus on complex cases. Kluckert also argued that AI can make more objective and faster decisions than humans, especially in the citizen-state relationship.
It remains to be seen how AI will be utilized in public administration in Germany, as different perspectives and concerns regarding transparency and efficiency have been raised.