We’re at the beginning of a new technological era powered by artificial intelligence (AI). In the next few decades we’re going to see AI transform industries from agriculture to medicine and beyond.
The immense potential and power of AI is attracting attention from political and business leaders around the world. Competition between countries to be the global leader in AI is heating up fast.
Across the Atlantic, the European Commission has adopted a digital approach for excellence in AI where it plans to invest at least $1 billion-plus a year into the technology in Europe.
Similarly, the European Parliament has endorsed a roadmap to turn Europe into a global leader in AI over the next decade.
Meanwhile, China has been focused on AI for years. In 2017, the Chinese government set the bold goal of becoming an AI superpower and global leader by 2030.
Across the world, investment in AI is booming, doubling from 2020 to 2021 to hit a mammoth $75 billion.
As Americans, we need to mobilize our talent, resources, and investment dollars to make sure we maintain our global lead in AI.
Too slowly, awareness is growing across the country that our lead in AI technology is under threat. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently set up an Artificial Intelligence Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation (AI Commission) to investigate what needs to be done to maintain our edge. This commission is calling for durable, bipartisan AI policy solutions to invest in our AI capabilities.
The risk of us losing our lead in AI is very real.
The biggest challenge is from China, which is rapidly emerging as an AI powerhouse. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence concluded in a recent report that China is determined to surpass the U.S. in AI technologies. The early signs show that China is making significant progress towards this goal.
In fact, China is now the global leader in AI publications and patents issued every year. Its global share of research papers in the AI field jumped from 4.26% in 1997 to 27% by 2017. It’s probably jumped even more since then.
Since 2017, China has produced more AI scholarly research every year than the United States.
For the first time ever, in 2020, China surpassed the U.S. in share of AI-related journal citations.
The European Union, China, and other countries in the world are making AI a national priority. As Americans we can’t get complacent with our technological advantages. We must keep investing in maintaining and improving them.
In fact, we need to invest much more capital into the AI sector, create progressive regulations in the space to promote innovation, and attract and retain the brightest AI talent in the world to live and work in America.
Fortunately, we have a few things going for us.
Firstly, Silicon Valley is by far the oldest, deepest, and most sophisticated technology ecosystem in the world. Most of the cutting-edge computer technologies developed over the past few decades have come from there or other U.S. research clusters.
Secondly, America leads the world in AI investment. About $50 billion of last year’s $75 billion was invested in America.
Finally, the U.S. government has a long history of successfully supporting innovation and research in areas it regards as strategic.
As a venture capital investor and founder of several companies that use AI as part of our products (Miso Robotics, Graze, Future Acres), I have seen first-hand some of the incredible technologies that have come out of Silicon Valley and the highly-talented people we have working in our technology industry.
With the right coordination between the U.S. government, entrepreneurs, universities, and investors, I’m confident we can maintain and extend our lead in this technology area.
However, the competition is heating up and so far, we haven’t levelled our game up. It’s time to build!
Angel investors like yourself will play a crucial role in keeping America at the forefront of this race. That’s because they support to growth of startups… and these small companies are where revolutionary advancements in technology are born.