AI strategies at the national level in Europe and the United States

Canada
Canada is actually home to some of the people and universities that made the AI breakthroughs that are happening today. Therefore, we have a slight advantage in terms of human resources and education compared to other countries.

Their AI strategy has four goals.

Increase the number of AI researchers and masters and above graduates
Create a cluster of three outstanding scientific disciplines.
Develop thought leadership on the impact of AI on the economy, ethics, policy, and law
Support the AI research community at the national level
Canada’s AI strategy is much different than other countries. The main focus is on research and human resources. Several initiatives are focused on strengthening Canada’s position as an international leader in the field of AI research and talent development. We don’t see the kind of strategic sector investment that we see in other countries, or things like data and privacy.

Denmark
In January of this year, Denmark published a strategy for growth in the digital realm, which is also about making Denmark a leader in the digital revolution and creating growth and wealth for the people from there.

Rather than focusing specifically on AI alone, it’s going to focus on AI, big data, and IoT.

There are three goals in their strategy.

Making sure Danish businesses are the best at using digital technology
Denmark is the best place for companies to make digital transformation happen
Ensure that all Danes can compete with the necessary digital skills
It has also announced three initiatives, including the following

Digital Hub Denmark (a place where the public and private sectors can collaborate for digital technology)
SME: Digital (a structure that supports the digital transformation of Danish SMEs)
Technology agreements (initiatives aimed at improving digital skills at the national level)
The amazing thing about this country’s strategy is that the country is not wielding AI. As they say, the companies in Silicon Valley that are good at AI are already digitized or software-enabled. That’s why it’s so easy to collect data, understand your customers, and quickly experiment with the hypotheses that come from analyzing the data. In other words, no matter how much you fuss about AI and AI when your business has not been digitized, nothing will actually change. They seem to have a firm understanding of this, and the challenge is how to digitize existing SMEs and how to raise the digital literacy of all citizens.

I think it’s a great way to set up a problem, and I think this kind of down-to-earth strategy, rather than just going with the bandwagon of the moment, can work well. While many countries, including Japan, have formulated strategies to wave their flags in a big way but are not sure where they will fall in the end, the Danish government has formulated these strategies and I get the impression that they are really thinking seriously about the economy and the people of the country. Of course, this is just my guess.

Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea Region
In May of this year, countries in the Nordic and Baltic region such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden got together and issued the “AI Declaration”. These countries will work together on the following six points

Increase opportunities for skill development.
Enhancing access to data.
Define ethical and transparent guidelines, standards, principles and values
Create hardware and software standards to enable privacy, security and trust
Make AI a major topic of discussion in Europe’s digital single market
Prevent unneeded regulation
I think it’s impressive that the last sentence, “Preventing non-essential regulation”, is firmly included in the AI Declaration. The “AI threat” has led to more and more regulations than necessary for no good reason, and if we try to apply regulations based on existing systems as they are, we will not be able to get the “benefits” of AI.

United Kingdom
As part of the larger industrial strategy that the UK government has, it has published an AI strategy that aims to position the UK as a global leader in the world of AI.

The focus is on promoting public and private research and development, investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathmatics) education, improving digital infrastructure, developing AI talent, and leading the conversation on the ethics of data at a global level.

It includes £300 million of private sector investment from domestic and international companies, the expansion of the Alan Turing Institute, the launch of the Turing Fellowship and the creation of the Centre for Ethics and Innovation in Data.

The United Kingdom is trying to make the most of its assets by building Alan Turing, the father of AI, who built a machine during World War II that decoded a German cryptographic system called Enigma, and who started calling it AI.

Incidentally, it is somewhat ironic that Alan Turing was tragically treated by the British government after the war when he was caught for being gay, which was illegal at the time, and forced to undergo hormone therapy, only to die two years later at the young age of 41 (the cause of death was officially suicide).

By the way, the House of Lords AI Select Committee has published a report titled “AI in the UK: ready, willing, and able”, which examines the economic, ethical, and social implications of AI developments over a 10-month period.

The main things we are proposing to the government are the following

Reviewing the monopoly of data by tech companies
Encourage the development of new approaches to auditing data sets
Creating a growth fund for SMEs doing AI projects in the UK
He also urged that the UK should take the lead in global governance of AI, first recommending that it host a global summit in 2019.

This is what England is all about, isn’t it? They are always thinking of leadership in the international community, of taking the lead in rule making. The battle for leadership, especially with regard to governance and ethics, has already begun in Europe with Germany and France. By the way, this country loves having summits, doesn’t it?

America
Unlike other countries, the U.S. government has not specifically developed a national AI strategy to increase investment in AI or across various organizations.

Towards the end of the last Obama administration, the White House put together three reports that would become the foundation of American strategy. The first report, Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, provides specific suggestions on AI regulation, public research and development, automation, ethics and fairness, and security. The second report, the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, lays out a strategy for research and development in the area of AI using the public budget. The final report, “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy,” details the impact of automation and offers suggestions on the policies needed to increase the benefits of AI and avoid its costs.

The current Trump administration is trying to take a different approach to AI. That’s what you could call free-marketism. In May of this year, the White House hosted an AI summit, where the president explained four goals for his approach to AI.

Keeping America’s Leadership in AI
Protecting America’s Workers.
Promote public research and development.
Excluding barriers to innovation.
One last point, the U.S. government will focus on removing regulatory barriers so that American businesses can innovate and grow with flexibility.

That’s America, isn’t it? In fact, some European countries have mentioned this regulatory issue in their AI strategies, but if you take the old rules that protect the existing systems that have been around for decades seriously, it’s going to be hard to innovate, especially in AI. Some of the top politicians and bureaucrats in the U.S. say that we should re-imagine and re-think everything instead of following the conventional way of doing things in this age of the Internet, mobile, and AI, and I think this is the strength of the U.S. In other words, since private companies, especially startups, will innovate and create new industries to improve the economy and increase employment, the government should contribute by creating an environment that makes it easier for them to do so. This was true not only in the current Trump administration, but also in the previous Obama administration. That’s why new startups like Airbnb and Uber can emerge that go beyond the existing framework.

I think the U.S. strategy is heading in the exact opposite direction of Japan’s AI strategy.

Also, this is also unique to the U.S., but it seems that the U.S. military’s investment in AI-related research and development is on a scale of hundreds of billions of dollars. Since this is for an unclassified project, there is actually more to it. As with most technologies, including the Internet, the reality is that investment and demand by the military is essential to the development of these new technologies.