Who is winning the AI race: United States, China, or someone else?

May 03, 2022 07:41PM UTC
Over the coming decade, leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) will be critical for any country to compete effectively in the global economy and shape the norms governing how AI is used domestically and internationally. In what has been dubbed the “global AI arms race,” governments are rapidly stepping up efforts to gain dominance and unlock AI’s disruptive potential.   

Historically, the United States has led the world in AI-related research output, but China has quickly caught up in the past twenty years. From a research perspective, China is now a world leader in AI publications and patents. In 2017, China explicitly stated its goal to become the leader in AI by 2030. In 2020, the U.S. founded the National AI Initiative, embracing a whole-of-government approach to ensure continued U.S. leadership in the field. European countries have been investing in the creation of many AI-related jobs in the private sector. South Korea, Japan, and India are also increasing funding for the development and research of AI to ensure competitiveness in the AI era.

As we've previously written, INFER is using crowd forecasting to assess whether the U.S. will retain its competitive advantage in AI. Part of that assessment includes a deep-dive on microelectronics, since this is a major area of AI competitiveness. INFER is introducing our next strategic question to understand how the U.S. compares to other countries across key areas of AI development. Below, you can see how INFER decomposed this strategic question to develop the new site topic, “International Competitiveness in AI.” 

Using the OECD’s metrics and methods, we identified three contributing factors to answer the question: research, human capital, and technology. Research refers to academic advancements and achievements; human capital will include issues concerning the people working in AI; technology deals with innovation and development of AI technology. 

Forecast questions in INFER’s site topic “Global AI Race: Talent, Research, and Tech” will cover these three factors and their subfactors, which can inform us about the specific state of research, human capital, and technology in the countries of interest. As much as possible, we will be benchmarking the United States, China, the European Union, India, the United Kingdom, and other countries where relevant.

You can already begin forecasting on questions in this topic area and more will be launching in the coming weeks: 

If you want to learn more about how these countries approach AI and policymaking, check out these multimedia resources:

Want to dive even deeper? Check out the NSCAI and AI Alignment podcast series for deep dives into various AI policy issues. 

Good luck, and happy forecasting!


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