AI is currently experiencing a global boom, not least because of its growing economic importance. The USA and China are investing billions in this technology, which is likely to fundamentally change working life throughout the world. Even before the turn of the millennium, intelligent robots were moving into factories on a large scale, for example in the automotive industry. In the future, intelligent systems will increasingly take over routine tasks in offices.
Although almost everyone comes into contact with it on a daily basis, around half of Germans do not know what exactly is meant by the term "artificial intelligence". "AI is in play when a smart phone automatically groups stored photos according to faces and topics such as holidays," explains Schölkopf, "or translates texts from one language into another."
Bernhard Schölkopf, 51, is a pioneer of this new industrial revolution based on information. The support-vector machines co-developed by him are similar to neural networks modelled on the brain, but provide more precise results for some tasks. In addition, they are based on solid mathematical principles, which makes their mode of operation more transparent. SVMs initially need to be trained, just as the human brain does when learning. Their special attribute is that their algorithms make clean-cut classifications in mathematical spaces of higher dimensions, but the computer can do this with comparatively simple and fast calculations.