The Global Push to Advance AI

Artificial intelligence is now a national priority for governments around the world.

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While different nations often see matters of national policy in very different terms, there are times of nearly universal agreement. That’s the case today when it comes to commitments to fuel the advancement of artificial intelligence. Governments around the world agree on the importance of investing in AI initiatives.

This point is underscored in a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute. The briefing notes that China and the United States are leaders in AI-related research activities and investments, followed by a second group of countries that includes Germany, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom. Other countries that are on path to AI readiness include Belgium, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Brazil, India, Italy and Malaysia.1

There are lots of reasons for the focus on AI. One of them is economic growth. McKinsey says that its survey data suggests AI adoption could raise global GDP (gross domestic product) by as much as $13 trillion by 2030. This equates to about 1.2 percent additional GDP growth per year. Numbers like these suggest that nations have a lot to gain from AI investments.

So, how do we get there? Naveen Rao, corporate vice president and general manager of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel, says it’s going to take a concerted effort. “AI is bigger than any one company, industry or country can address on its own,” Rao writes in an Intel editorial. “It will take the whole of our technology ecosystem and the world’s governments to realize the full promise of AI.”2

AI in the States

In the United States, the federal government is doing its part to advance the cause of AI. In February of this year, the White House announced the American AI Initiative, a concerted effort to promote and protect AI technology and innovation across the United States, in collaboration and engagement with the private sector, academia, the public and international partners.

Among other directives, the U.S. initiative calls for promoting sustained AI R&D investment, enhancing access to high-quality cyberinfrastructure and data, removing regulatory barriers, providing education and training opportunities, and ensuring that America leads in the development of technical standards for AI.

The U.S. government’s AI investments cover a broad spectrum of challenges, including core AI research, applied AI R&D, computer systems research in support of AI, and the cyberinfrastructure and datasets needed for AI. Cross-disciplinary U.S. investments focus on a wide range of AI applications that are important to the nation, including those related to science, medicine, communication, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture and security.

You can explore this far-reaching national AI initiative at the U.S. government’s website.  

Policy considerations

Alongside the quest to promote the advancement of AI, industry observers say that governments have a corresponding responsibility to put policies in place to help protect their citizens from the misuse of AI. This isn’t necessarily about impeding or regulating the adoption of AI. It’s about influencing how AI is used and working to mitigate any potential negative impacts on citizens.

The proper role of government in AI involves a broad discussion that is now taking place. Should governments address public concerns about AI eliminating jobs? How do you ensure that facial-recognition algorithms used in security systems are fair and impartial? How do you make the complex workings of AI systems transparent, or at least understandable, to everyday people? The better governments are at working with industry and academia to address questions like these, the more success they are likely to have at driving AI forward at a national level.

As a research scientist told a recent MIT gathering focused on AI policy, “If you want people to trust this stuff, government has to play a role.”3

To learn more

For a look at case studies showcasing the transformative power of artificial intelligence, visit the Dell Technologies AI site. To learn more about unlocking the value of data with artificial intelligence systems, explore Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI.


1 McKinsey Global Institute, “The Promise and Challenge of the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” October 2018.

2 Intel editorial, “How Governments Can Help Advance Artificial Intelligence,” July 10, 2018.

3 New York Times,How Do You Govern Machines That Can Learn? Policymakers Are Trying to Figure That Out,” January 20, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.