AI Industry in Germany: Insights from Aleph Alpha Founder

What the Founder of the AI Startup Aleph Alpha Thinks About Germany’s AI Landscape

AI advancements seem to be predominantly occurring in the US these days, with companies like Apple criticizing the European AI Act. Are we hindering our own technological progress in Europe? We asked Jonas Andrulis, the founder of Aleph Alpha, about his perspective on Germany’s position in the AI industry.

What do ChatGPT, Gemini, Midjourney, and Claude have in common? They’re all generative AI models, of course. But there’s another commonality: none of these models were developed in Europe.

Furthermore, Apple recently announced that it would initially withhold new AI features from the European market, citing the EU’s Digital Markets Act as the reason. While this may be more of a strategic move to gain attention rather than a genuine threat to exclude one of the world’s largest markets, it nonetheless highlights the regulatory efforts that many experts in Europe criticize.

Jonas Andrulis is one such expert. In 2019, he co-founded Aleph Alpha with Samuel Weinbach, a German company that developed the Large Language Model Luminous. A key feature of Luminous is its commitment to transparency by citing the sources used for its outputs as comprehensively as possible. Additionally, Luminous is targeted solely at businesses and government agencies and is designed to comply fully with the AI Act.

Germany’s AI Landscape: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

When asked about Germany’s AI industry, Andrulis offers a nuanced view. “There are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” he tells t3n. On the positive side, he praises German universities: “I graduated from KIT in Karlsruhe, there’s a branch of ETH Zurich in Heilbronn, and the TUM Campus is also here.” He also acknowledges Heidelberg and Darmstadt as renowned research hubs with international appeal.

On the downside, Andrulis criticizes the German industry’s “aversion to risk and possibly its sluggishness in implementing AI.” He sees this as a “huge danger”: “Everything we do, our culture, our social system, our education, can only survive if we succeed in creating value through AI.”

“We’re facing a potential overregulation issue across Europe,” he adds. While he believes it’s possible to work with the European Commission’s AI Act, he cautions, “We’re in the midst of the fastest industrial revolution ever. Without innovation, not just companies but also public institutions will become paralyzed in the coming years.”

Andrulis emphasizes the importance of harnessing Germany’s creative potential for innovation before focusing on compliance: “We need to prioritize using our creative power for innovation to ensure the survival of our industry and values.”

Despite the challenges, Jonas Andrulis and Aleph Alpha are not planning to leave Europe for the US: “Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and Europe are very close to our hearts,” he says. “I don’t want to watch us fall behind technologically or become mere dependent clients of large tech monopolies. There are many good things here, and taking responsibility also means not running away at the first sign of trouble.”