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National ambitions = dodgy AI policy and deployment?

National ambitions = dodgy AI policy and deployment?

An annual report by a consulting firm to world governments uncovers an interesting pattern when it comes to the responsible use of AI.

According data developed by consultant Oxford Insights, with one debatable exception, none of the top 15 countries ranked for their responsible use of AI could reasonably be considered to have strategic ambitions to dominate globally or even their region.

The report, which looked broadly at the AI readiness of world governments, created a sub-ranking focused on how responsible governments are being in four “dimensions” — inclusivity, accountability, privacy and transparency. Rank was measured using nine indicators grouped under each dimension.

Japan, which recently began debating an outward-facing military that operates independent of the United States, ranked No. 15. Most of the rest were European. (Estonia ranked No. 1.)

France was No. 20. South Korea, 21; the UK, 22; Israel, No. 23. The United States ranked 24th.

Brazil, Turkey, India, Russia and China ranked 30, 32, 32, 33 and 34, respectively.

It would appear authors of the report extended their view on responsible use to 34 nations in order to capture China, which uses AI for projects including the rounding up of religious and minority for open-ended terms in remote prison camps.

The other focus of the report is on overall “AI readiness,” which is judged based on criteria of vision, government and ethics, digital capacity, adaptability, size, innovation capacity, human capital, infrastructure, data availability and data representativeness.

By those measures, the U.S. is judged most-ready, scoring 85.48. The UK, Finland, Germany and Sweden round out the top five, while China ranks 19th, in between Switzerland and Israel.

The report explores AI readiness for 172 countries, and generally finds countries with developing economies lagging far behind.

For “responsible use,” the report plots the four dimensions of each of the nations in a circle graph, and the difference is striking.

Those closer to the top of the ranking show more equally proportioned green (privacy), red (inclusivity), accountability (yellow) and transparency (blue) dimensions.

Estonia’s graph looks almost like a colorful reticle. The U.S. graph is grossly lopsided, with large inclusivity and accountability quadrants and nubs for privacy and transparency.

China’s graph resembles a picked-over pizza after the big game. It scored precisely the same as the United States in inclusivity (which might reflect China’s aggressive policy to get every one of its citizens scanned in some way). Its privacy score is comparable to the United States’.

Transparency is scored significantly lower than the United States, however, and accountability is a fragment compared to most or all industrialized nations’ score.

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