Wednesday, 26 April, 2023

National AI plans ranked by ‘Weird’ness

In recent years, 34+ Governments have set out their policies and frameworks for AI. Each varies in depth and approach.

To compare each plan, academics have created a measurement framework called the WEIRD framework. This acronym is designed to measure:

  • Western – Countries that share a common linguistic and cultural background
  • Educated – Based on the UN Human development index on education
  • Industrialised – Industry value added of GDP as per the world bank
  • Rich – Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook working our mean wealth of adults
  • Democratic – Using the Democracy index by Economist Intelligence Unit

The concept was created in 2010 by Joseph Henrich, a Harvard professor, to measure countries’ commonalities in their approaches to AI considering various psychology, motivation, and behaviour decision-making processes. They also work out who is winning and losing in the race for national AI governance powered by people and technological skills. Counties are grouped by commonalities in approaches in data management, algorithmic management, AI governance, R&D capacity development, Educational capacity, and public service reform.

34 countries have been analysed, and here are the key points:

  • China is in the lead and planning to double its AI investment by 2026
  • US-India should work closer together
  • Japan and Korea heavily invest in R&D but not so much in education
  • France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain lead with data management plans but low in education
  • Czechia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland’s Democratic element was strong
  • US, UK, Australia, India, Mexico, Serbia, and Uruguay were high in Data Governance
  • Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, US were strong in AI Governance.
  • Czechia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland are investing heavily in R&D

It is still early days in AI. Nations are investing more in all areas of AI. As more social and economic opportunities are being realised, more will be invested in the future. The research states that it may be hard to put the brakes on AI development to allow AI safety. Therfore, it is proposed to engage in AI development and build guardrails sooner.

Bottom line

There are a few key points to note:

  • Global interest and investment in AI are strong, with a sense of competition to lead the AI race
  • There is a lot of overlap between countries in AI capabilities
  • There is a growing sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and nations are starting to ramp up investment
  • New GenerativeAI has opened eyes to efficiencies and benefits that can be gained

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Reference read more

Thank you to these excellent references for inspiring our thinking:

[1] Brookings article – 

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