iRights.Lab at Forum Trade 4.0 of Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE)

“Alexa, Google Assistant & Co. – How will you revolutionize commerce?” Under this title the German Trade Association (HDE) invited to a panel discussion at the Telefónica Basecamp in Berlin, to debate the effects of smart assistants and artificial intelligence on the retail industry.

For iRights.Lab founder and director Philipp Otto took part and spoke on issues of regulation, reservations of users and opportunities for German developers.

Other participants of the discussion were Thomas Jarzombek, MdB (CDU), Christian Bärwind, Industry Leader Retail – Strategic Partnerships at Google, Robert Zore CTO at REWE Digital and Stephan Tromp, Chief Executive of HDE. The evening was chaired by Hanno Bender, Head of Politics & Law at Lebensmittel Zeitung.

Otto said that the potential of assistants as part of smart technology was huge and the development was still in its infancy. On the other hand and most importantly one would have to take people’s fears about such technological innovations seriously, he added. This could only be achieved through transparency and legal regulation: “Lawmakers should act slowly and diligently rather than quickly and incorrectly,” said Otto.

It is still important to invest: in ideas, in research, in safety. People are interested in digital progress, but not without the feeling of security and trust.
Otto made clear: “If a technology promises not to keep personal data, or only in case, users know about it, there should be no exceptions. There should not be nasty surprises. This is when confidence can grow.”

In addition to the panel discussion, iRights.e.V. presented the project “ANNA – the connected life”, which deals with algorithms and artificial intelligence in everyday life of consumers. ANNA shall show in which areas of everyday life the use of A.I. is already reality. It also examines and presents in various scenarios what kind of developments are to be expected in the future and the opportunities and risks associated with technological progress.

At the end of an interesting evening it could be stated, that digital assistance programs are becoming more and more popular for the people but that a lot of development, regulation and knowledge transfer is still needed.