Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are forecast to add US$15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. According to the findings of our Index and as might be expected, the governments of countries in the Global North are better placed to take advantage of these gains than those in the Global South. There is a risk, therefore, that countries in the Global South could be left behind by the so-called fourth industrial revolution. Not only will they not reap the potential benefits of AI, but there is also the danger that unequal implementation widens global inequalities. AI has the power to transform the way that governments around the world deliver public services. In turn, this could greatly improve citizens' experiences of government. Governments are already implementing AI in their operations and service delivery, to improve efficiency, save time and money, and deliver better quality public services. In 2017, Oxford Insights created the world's first Government AI Readiness Index, to answer the question: how well placed are national governments to take advantage of the benefits of AI in their operations and delivery of public services? The results sought to capture the current capacity of governments to exploit the innovative potential of AI. The 2019 Government AI Readiness Index, produced with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), sees a development of our methodology, and an expansion of scope to cover all UN countries (from our previous group of OECD members). It scores the governments of 194 countries and territories according to their preparedness to use AI in the delivery of public services. The overall score is comprised of 11 input metrics, grouped under four high-level clusters: governance; infrastructure and data; skills and education; and government and public services. The data is derived from a variety of resources, ranging from our own desk research into AI strategies, to databases such as the number of registered AI startups on Crunchbase, to indices such as the UN eGovernment Development Index. We divided the countries by region, principally following UN groupings, with the chief exception of the Western European and Others Group, which we separated to allow more in-depth analysis of higher scoring governments.
The UK has been knocked from the top spot of a global ranking of countries whose governments are ready to capitalise on artificial intelligence technologies in public services. The UK was narrowly beaten to the number one position by Singapore in this year's Government AI Readiness Index, which the ranking's authors described as a "timely reminder of the ongoing inequality of access to AI". This is the second time the ranking has been produced, with the UK having topped the leaderboard in the first iteration in 2017. Technology consultancy Oxford Insights and the Canadian government-sponsored International Development Research Centre said the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index should prompt governments to "act to ensure that global inequalities are not further entrenched or exacerbated by AI". Unsurprisingly, the upper echelons of the ranking were dominated by higher-income countries with strong economies.
The Government Artificial Intelligence (AI) Readiness Index, compiled by Oxford Insights and the International Development Research Centre, ranks the governments of 194 nations according to how prepared they are to utilise AI in the provision of public services. According to global consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper, AI technologies are forecast to add an additional $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with $6.6 trillion to come from an increase in productivity and $9.1 trillion from consumption-side effects. The score that Oxford Insights provides for each country comprises of 11 input metrics grouped under four high-level topics: governance; infrastructure and data; skills and education; and government public services. On a global level, the top ranking countries (and their scores) were: Singapore (9.186), The likes of India (7.515) and China (7.37) were ranked 17th and 20th respectively.
The UK is first in our rankings, reflecting its world-leading centres for AI research and strong technology industry. Although the UK has great starting conditions for AI development, it faces stiff competition from other countries seeking to be top of the global rankings. China, the US, Russia and Canada have all announced plans to be world leaders in AI. If the UK wishes to retain its high ranking in our capacity index, the government will need to continue to invest in order to remain competitive in future years.
The race to become the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) has officially begun. In the past fifteen months, Canada, Japan, Singapore, China, the UAE, Finland, Denmark, France, the UK, the EU Commission, South Korea, and India have all released strategies to promote the use and development of AI. No two strategies are alike, with each focusing on different aspects of AI policy: scientific research, talent development, skills and education, public and private sector adoption, ethics and inclusion, standards and regulations, and data and digital infrastructure. It also highlights relevant policies and initiatives that the countries have announced since the release of their initial strategies. I plan to continuously update this article as new strategies and initiatives are announced. If a country or policy is missing (or if something in the summary is incorrect), please leave a comment and I will update the article as soon as possible.