Six Countries Leading the AI Race
Artificial intelligence recognizes faces, delivers better online search results, and steers autonomous cars. The AI trend has been hailed as the next industrial revolution. While AI transforms the world beyond recognition, six countries are taking the lead in the AI race.
• China has long held high ambitions for AI. The State Council of the People’s Republic of China has announced its goal to become a $150 billion AI global leader by the year 2030.
This goal looks to be achievable. China is already a world leader in AI research. The country has published more research papers on deep learning than other leading countries in the past few years. Also, China benefits from the enormous supply of data generated by its internet-using population, estimated at 750 million people.
• Germany is known for its clockwork efficiency and technical know-how. The country now hopes to merge its tradition with technical innovations. Berlin has become Europe’s leading hub for AI talent, and Germany is poised to become a leader in robotics, autonomous vehicles, and quantum computing.
In addition, Germany’s “Cyber Valley” is attracting international interest. The area, located near Tübingen and Stuttgart, was created in 2016 in a collaboration among universities, major private companies, and a leading research organization.
• Norway is shaping up its technological credentials, positioned to grow beyond its oil-drilling and fishing past. It still has a ways to go compared with other European countries, but things are looking up. An $11 million fund and accelerator program to develop Norway as a technological hub was launched in 2017.
• Sweden has no fear when it comes to replacing human workers with AI. In one recent survey, 80 percent of Swedes responded positively about AI and robots. The survey also indicates that people with knowledge about AI and robotics are more likely to support the expansion of automation. And Swedish unions and workers generally view AI as a positive way to make the most of human skills and gain a competitive edge. This all may be due, at least in part, to Sweden’s relatively broad social benefits.
• The United Kingdom is a clear leader in AI in Europe, with 121 AI firms. In 2017, tech companies in the UK raised private investments totaling $8.6 billion, which amounts to 38 percent of all venture capital invested there.
It’s estimated that as a result of AI, the GDP of the UK by 2030 could be as much as 10 percent higher, an increase equivalent to $266 billion. So it’s no wonder that the UK government is taking notice. In November 2017, it announced the budgeting of $78 million to fund research into robotics projects and AI.
• The United States has odds as favorable as China when it comes to leading the AI race. The US has long benefited from a well-established tech culture, with $10 billion in venture capital currently being funneled towards AI. But with recent funding reductions for AI, increased education costs, and tightening immigration restrictions for international research professionals, the future of AI in the U.S. is looking a bit uncertain.