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article imageArtificial intelligence research is ramping up around the world

By Lisa Cumming     May 3, 2018 in Technology
As AI becomes a more pervasive force within private and public life, key players around the globe are dedicating resources to the implementation of this disruptive technology.
Who’s coming to the table?
While the U.K. wants to lead the conversation around the ethical implications of AI, they definitely aren’t the only contenders. The US and China are the dominating AI powers and Canada, like the U.K., has upped the resource flow. Last year, the Ontario government pledged $30 million to increase the number of graduates studying AI in their bid to sway Amazon.
READ MORE: The future of AI depends on who’s at the table
Canada at large has adopted the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, worth $125-million, which will hopefully boost the country's reputation in field of AI. Canada’s startups are also gaining global attention for their research on artificial intelligence.
In the East, China is investing billions of dollars in preparation for an AI industry worth $150 billion dollars by 2030. India is copying this strategy, as it hopes to become a leader in AI, by doubling the budget for Digital India to almost USD$477 million and having a government think-tank start a national programme dedicated to AI.
This strategy is more coordinated than that coming out of the White House where, experts say, President Donald Trump has not followed through on former President Obama’s “call to arms” on artificial intelligence, automation and the economy. In the U.S., AI research is boosted by private industry and academia.
Recently the U.K. government announced that, as a part of its investment in AI, about USD$400 million will come from corporations and investment firms, both based in and out of the U.K. A report from the House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee states that while the UK can’t outspend leaders like China, they can still become leaders in AI.
Earlier this year the French government announced a nearly USD$1.8 billion investment for AI, that will end when President Emmanuel Macron’s term ends in 2022.
Tel Aviv has an artificial intelligence program at the university and, more broadly, Israeli tech startups are raising billions, with investment in artificial intelligence startups showing rapid growth.
Where to go from here
Tech-focussed countries are investing more and more of their resources in AI, either through the public or private sector. But, in order for countries to ensure that AI is being incorporated properly — as a new report from Brookfield tells us — more voices must join this discussion to ensure that these advancements aren’t happening in an echo chamber.
The AI witnessed at work currently is defined as “Narrow AI,” because it is able to carry out repetitive tasks by learning from patterns found in the data is processes. The AI we’ve only seen in movies — at this point in time — is Artificial General Intelligence, “a single system capable of performing all of the intellectual tasks that a human brain can” and Artificial Superintelligence, a type of AI that can “[surpass] human intellect and abilities in nearly all areas.”
Organizations around the world are pushing ahead to advance AI beyond the repetitive tasks of Siri and Alexa. With increased funding, and a conversation that includes a wide range of perspectives, we should get there.
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