The 2021 AI Index: Major Growth Despite the Pandemic


This year's report shows a maturing industry, significant private investment, and rising competition between China and the U.S. The last decade was a pivotal one for the AI industry, and 2020 saw AI substantially increase its impact on the world despite the chaos brought about by the COVID pandemic: Technologists made significant strides in massive language and generative models; the United States witnessed its first drop in AI hiring ever – pointing to a maturation of the industry – while hiring around the world increased; more dollars flowed to government use of AI than ever before, while colleges and universities offered students double the AI courses from a few years ago. These are just some of the findings from the 2021 AI Index, an annual study of AI impact and progress developed by an interdisciplinary team at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) in partnership with organizations from industry, academia, and government. "The impact of AI this past year was both societal and economic, driven by the increasingly rapid progress of the technology itself," said AI Index co-chair Jack Clark. "With the AI Index, we can actually measure and evaluate the changes, enabling leaders and decision makers to take meaningful action to advance AI responsibly and ethically with humans in mind." The 2021 AI Index is one of the most comprehensive reports about AI to date, analyzing and distilling patterns about AI's impact on everything from national economies to job growth to the analysis of technical progress within AI research itself, and analysis of the diversity (or lack of) among the people who create AI systems.