INFER announced a strategic focus on artificial intelligence and launched the Global AI Race: Talent, Research, and Tech topic in early May 2022. This “topic brief” aims to give everyone (especially non-experts) a starting point for forecasting these questions about international competition in AI.
- Why are policymakers focused on artificial intelligence?
- What is the United States doing to remain competitive in AI?
- What is China doing to remain competitive in AI?
- What is the European Union doing to remain competitive in AI?
1. Why are policymakers focused on artificial intelligence?
AI is growing fast, and it has the power to transform not just our personal lives, but militaries, economies, and even governments themselves. Due to the enormous impact that AI will have on the future of the world, governments are stepping up efforts to become leaders in the AI realm, in what has been dubbed the “global AI arms race.”
As we’ve written before, because AI drives advances in so many fields, maintaining technological leadership is key to both economic and geopolitical competition. On the international level, leading in the AI race can mean having a superior military, a stronger economy, and increased influence in a future world. A government that leads the charge in AI has influence over the direction and impacts of AI for the rest of the world, making the topic an important consideration for national security.
2. What is the United States doing to remain competitive in AI?
- U.S. Government strategy: National Artificial Intelligence Initiative | AI.gov and Artificial intelligence | NIST
- U.S. National Security perspective on AI: NSCAI Final Report
- Perspective on how the U.S. can win in AI: How the US can dominate in the race to national AI supremacy | Brookings
- A business-centered approach to the U.S. AI strategy: America's Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies | Forbes
- Perspective on how the U.S. can maintain its lead in the global AI race: Discussion panel and whitepaper | Center for Data Innovation
Try forecasting on it:
- How many AI related patents will be published in the U.S. in 2022?
- How will the U.S. rank in AI skills penetration in 2022?
- Will U.S. domestic labor demand for artificial intelligence skills equal or exceed 3.2% for December 2022?
3. What is China doing to remain competitive in AI?
In 2017, China announced its “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” detailing its strategy to become the global leader in AI talent and technological development. With more access to data than their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe, AI models in China are stronger and faster. From a research perspective, China’s global share of AI research papers surpasses any other country. Researchers in China consistently file more AI patents than in any other country.
However, policies (like the 2017 policy mentioned above) are vague and often confusing. With names like “Made in China 2025” and “Action Outline for Promoting the Development of Big Data,” policies are high-level overviews of goals more than anything else. Companies are frequently left guessing what the government will regulate or fund. As a result, investors favor applied AI over long-term growth, which could affect the ability of China to control the long-term AI narrative.
- For an exploration of China’s efforts: Is China Emerging as the Global Leader in AI? | Harvard Business Review
- Video looking into domestic Chinese AI efforts to win the AI race: China's Race for AI Supremacy | Bloomberg
- A look at the Chinese AI economy: The next frontier for AI in China could add $600 billion to its economy | McKinsey
- An academic review of Chinese AI policy: The Chinese approach to artificial intelligence: an analysis of policy, ethics, and regulation | SpringerLink
Try forecasting on it:
- What percentage of contributions to Github's "very high impact" AI projects will be from China in 2022?
- How many AI related patents will be published in China in 2022?
- In 2022, will a Chinese institution have the most AI research publications ranking in the top 10%?
4. What is the European Union doing to remain competitive in AI?
The European Union made international headlines when it passed the EU Artificial Intelligence Act in 2017, which regulates AI from a risk-based perspective. As a result, the EU has a clear legal and regulatory framework. In terms of talent, AI research from Europe is well-respected and rivals China’s research output. This research prowess is due in large part to government funding. EU countries have allocated over 10 billion euros (or about 10.5 billion USD) to AI development and research within the past decade, rivaling U.S, spending.
Yet, this funding has not kept top talent in the EU. Top talent has moved across the Atlantic to pursue more lucrative and interesting opportunities. There have not been sufficient attempts to resolve this issue. The holy grail of EU AI policy, the EU AI Act, has received substantial criticism for its focus on risk aversion as opposed to encouraging development and innovation.
- Exploring the EU AI Act: EU Artificial Intelligence Act: The European Approach to AI | Stanford Law School
- The EU’s position in the global AI race: Europe and AI: Leading, Lagging Behind, or Carving Its Own Way? | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Evaluating the EU approach to AI: The E.U. AI Act: A Risk-Based Policy Approach to AI Applications
Try forecasting on it:
- How many European Union countries will have an AI skill migration greater than 2 per 100,000 in 2022?
- What percentage of contributions to Github's "very high impact" AI projects will be from the EU in 2022?
- How many AI scientific publications will be published by EU institutions in 2022?
To help analyze which of the above will lead the global AI race, we have identified several factors that contribute to a country’s standing. You can read about how we did this here. The reasoning behind presenting these questions is further elaborated upon in various blog posts, concentrated here for easy reference.
The INFER team has experts on hand to help understand this complicated topic. If you have any additional questions to help you forecast, please contact us at [email protected] and we will do our best to help find an answer.