Judging by the breathless coverage, it can seem as if the only countries developing artificial intelligence are the United States and China. But while companies in those two countries are leading the way in cutting-edge research and products, it’s still early for the industry and other nations are working hard to become major AI players. Here are six that could challenge the two juggernauts.
Singapore was one of the first countries to announce a national strategy, called AI Singapore, in May 2017. The initiative brings the government, research institutions and companies together to collaborate on research and speed up local adoption of AI, with $109 million to spend over five years. Singapore also has a head start in autonomous vehicles: It had the first self-driving taxis for use by the public and built a mini-town for further testing.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the Middle East to publish an AI strategy, and the only country in the world to create a Ministry of Artificial Intelligence. While the Emiratis are trying to attract international attention with bold projects like an AI-powered lab focused on climate change, this summer they taught 600 local students at an AI camp to develop their own talent pool.
Israel is becoming a world leader in medical AI with dozens of new health care startups in a country that has a population just shy of New Jersey’s. The government announced a five-year program with a budget of $280 million to digitize patient data and use AI to gather important insights, with hopes of turning the homegrown expertise into consumer products that could make Israel an industry leader.
India released its AI strategy only this summer, but it contains a big idea that could catch them up: become the “garage” that develops AI that creates economic growth and social development for themselves and the rest of the developing world. The plan, which they are calling #AIforAll, will focus on projects around health care, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation.
The French government released a 150-page document earlier this year that spells out its AI efforts around the health, environment, transportation and security sectors, and is putting $2 billion into funding projects around those areas. And when (or if) Britain leaves the European Union, France is well placed to be the union’s epicenter of AI. Both Google and Facebook already have offices in Paris dedicated to AI research.
Two of the four “godfathers” of the current AI boom, Yoshua Bengio and Geoffrey Hinton, live, work, and teach in Canada. Their efforts have helped spur major research and an AI industry there, including offices for Uber, Facebook and Google. The current immigration restrictions in the United States have also sent talented international researchers to Canada instead of Silicon Valley.