An exciting week, with a surprise top three contestant!

In the past few weeks, the WCAIR has seen great developments. Several Asian cities have gotten together and pooled their datasets in an open foundation, allowing the world to learn from extremely large amounts of data. Australian researchers contributed transparent controls that enabled privacy-sensitive computation. In Europe, this has always been a challenge given the GDPR, but the small city of Juinen has shown a very large growth in its compliance & governance capabilities and thus sprinted to the number three position!

A recent report shows that current global leaders in AI adoption, research, and development include Asian countries like China, Singapore, and Japan. The report says, “Certainly, Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as a major market for AI-led initiatives since most countries in the region are establishing committees or task forces for creating national AI strategies, which have either been launched or are on the course of being launched in the next few years.” A World Intellectual Property Organization report revealed that Japanese and American companies hold the highest AI patent portfolios, and Chinese research organizations make up 17 of the top 20 academic players in AI patenting and 11 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications.

That is not to say other continents are far behind. The imminent creation of an African Artificial Intelligence Research Centre in Brazzaville, Congo, could give momentum to this new movement in Africa, AfricaNews reports at the third Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Forum (ARSTI2021). And Latin America is also still showing strong growth.

The current challenge in Europe is focused on regulation. The European Union’s executive arm will release its proposal for AI regulation in April, and has lobbied hard for its vision for ethical artificial intelligence that would offer an alternative to the American and Chinese approaches to the technology. The EU’s new law will set strict rules for AI applications that are considered “high risk” and the bloc is mulling who to hold accountable when AI goes awry. This stresses the need for capable AI compliance officers, and the search for such people has become a priority in many cities.

In that regard, the Dutch city of Juinen has spurred remarkable progress: its recent clearance of many complexe AI programs has pushed the city into a number three position in the world ranking. Never before has a city this size achieved this position. We can only wonder what the future will bring!