China is poised to become the dominant national power in AI, new research suggests.

What’s new: The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public-policy think tank, assessed which of 50 countries are best positioned to become AI powerhouses.
What they found: The analysts examined each country according to 10 data points including total processing power, number of top supercomputers, private and public investments in AI, and volumes of research publications and patent filings.

  • The U.S. and China are clear leaders, according to the analysis. The U.S. excels in technology, but China’s much larger population portends future gains in engineering and research.
  • The analysts ranked France, Germany, Japan, and the UK in the next group. They deemed the UK to have the highest potential to compete with China and the U.S.
  • They assigned Canada, India, Italy, and South Korea to the next tier. Of these, India offers outstanding education but lacks technology, they concluded.
  • The remaining countries lack competitive investments, technology, or both. This group includes relatively prosperous countries like Austria and Singapore as well as historically underdeveloped countries like Mexico and Uganda.

Behind the news: The new report adds to Brookings’ growing body of research into national AI postures. Last November, the organization concluded that Singapore, India, and Germany ranked highest in terms of AI talent due to high numbers of STEM graduates and tech workers already in the market. The previous month, it ranked the efforts of 44 nations to fulfill their AI aspirations, giving high marks to China, Germany, and India.

Why it matters: AI is an emerging arena for geopolitical competition. Understanding the global distribution of AI development and investment can help leaders make appropriate decisions and aspiring AI practitioners find sources of knowledge and employment.

We’re thinking: Many observers frame global competition in AI as a winner-take-all tournament. We believe there are great opportunities for international collaboration that would lift everyone.

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