How These 5 Countries Prep for Artificial Intelligence

U.S. seems to be the early leader in adopting AI ― for now.

In the past two years, governments around the globe have developed plans to prepare for the benefits and advancements of artificial intelligence, and the U.S. seems to be taking the lead ― for now. 

A recent report from the Center for Data Innovation dug into AI initiatives from five countries after concluding AI has the potential to transform the economy. The U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, China and Japan are all embarking on certain AI research, funding and plans, but if the U.S. wants to stay competitive, it needs to strategize more and prepare the workforce for the AI economy, according to the report.

The U.S. government seems to be more focused on learning about AI and its role for policymakers. In 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology held workshops with academic leaders on social, ethical, economical and technological aspects of AI, released a request for information on AI and published the “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence” report.

By the end of 2016, the White House had also published the “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy” report, reaffirming its stance that government should make sure the workforce has the proper skills to succeed in the transition to an AI-driven economy.

GovernmentCIO Magazine also spoke with AI evangelist Justin Herman, the lead for the General Services Administration’s Emerging Citizen Technology program, which launched earlier this year. The program focuses on AI for citizen services and intends to help agencies adopt new technologies by building the road maps, shared services and policies to do so.

Similarly, the U.K. is also working to better understand AI and secure future AI benefits. For example, its House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report about potential AI and robotics benefits and challenges, concluding it should focus more on education and workforce training. The U.K. Digital Strategy report included $22.3 million in funding for universities to develop AI tech.

Earlier this year, Canada released a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which is backed by a one-time government funding of $98.7 million. China also released a development plan in July that aims to make it a leader in AI by 2030. It intends to create a domestic AI industry worth a trillion in Chinese currency and is preparing for a multibillion-dollar investment initiative to promote AI start-ups, research and projects.

Japan launched the Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy Council in 2016 to build a road map for developing and commercializing AI, which was ultimately published in May. It prioritizes areas for AI R&D and expresses the need for Japan to develop the human capital needed to work with AI.

The Center for Data Innovation found China’s efforts to be the most ambitious, and that the country views AI as a critical opportunity. Both the U.S. and the U.K., though involved in AI’s potential and have the reports to prove it, haven’t launched the strategic initiatives to support AI technology. The report recommends following suit in developing a strategic approach to advance AI adoption.

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