The UK is second only to Singapore in terms of having a government that is ready to make the most of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, bearing in mind that artificial intelligence is expected to add US$15 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
This is according to the Government AI Readiness Index, compiled Oxford Insights and commissioned by Canada’s International Development Research Centre as part of its AI for Development initiative.
Singapore scored 9.186 and the UK scored 9.069 in the rankings which are based on a set of 11 input metrics.
These metrics measure governance, infrastructure, data, skills and education and government and public services. Germany was in third place with a score of 8.810, followed by the United States which scored 8.804 and Finland was in fifth place with 8.772.
China came in at 20th place with a score of 7.370. The report authors said that this is despite central and local government in China already implementing AI in public service delivery, and is mostly down to missing data points.
This year’s index assessed 194 countries and looked at a wider range of data than the index of the previous year, with the report authors looking at AI readiness by regions. Africa did not fare well with only 12 countries out of 52 on the continent on the list. They concluded that in Africa there is a lack of data to feed into indices such as this and but the outlook for AI in Africa is positive, noting the launch of Nigeria’s first AI hub in 2018 and the announcement by Google in the same year that it is to open an AI research hub in Accra, Ghana.
In Latin America, just two countries, Mexico and Uruguay, have developed or are in the process of developing artificial intelligence strategies and policies. In addition, there are three key challenges impeding the use of AI for the common good in this region; policies, capacity and adequate resources.
More than half of the countries in the top 20 of the ranking (11) are located in Western Europe, with the UK in 2nd place, Germany 3rd, Finland 5th and Sweden 6th. This shows that AI-readiness cannot be inferred from a large economy and population. Finland’s high score is partly down to the stated goal of the Finnish government to become a global leader in AI.
In North America, the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy focuses on establishing Canada as the ‘human capital leader in AI’ by cultivating and attracting highly skilled AI talent. Canada ranked joint 6th with Sweden. Meanwhile, the United States, which came in 4th, has been working on advancing the AI development and adoption since 2016, especially with the launch of its Artificial Research and Development Strategic Plan.
Richard Stirling, CEO of Oxford Insights said: “The UK has performed extremely well, and the government has demonstrated its commitment with initiatives such as the Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal in April 2018.”
However, he added: “If the UK is to stay ahead in the field we must continue to support AI research, technologies and companies with a clear national strategy and investment programme to support continuous innovation.”