Photo by — @juskteez

Artificial Intelligence and the Rising Stars of Europe

How Does Europe Rank in the Tortoise Global AI Index?

I have decided to look at how Europe is represented in a few different AI indexes. Previously I covered the Artificial Intelligence Index 2019 published by Stanford University.

What is Tortoise?

This time around I am covering the AI Index published by Tortoise. It is the most funded publication on Kickstarter of all time. The co-founders of Tortoise are James Harding, Katie Vanneck-Smith and Matthew Barzun. Ceci Kurzman is the Independent Director. James was the Editor of The Times and then ran BBC News. Katie was the President of the Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones. Matthew was US Ambassador to Sweden and then the UK. Ceci founded Nexus Management and previously worked at Epic/Sony Music.

What is an Index?

An index is a ranking built from a careful selection of different measurements around a central topic or theme. In the Tortoise Global AI Index countries are ranked on the basis of their capacity for artificial intelligence.

How is the Overall Picture?

As you can see from the Tortoise index it places France, Germany and the United Kingdoms amongst the traditional champions while it places most others in the rising stars and waking up category.

The jumbled graphics were from the page, but you can look closer at the Tortoise website.

The categories are based on their score on the AI index. There is a great difference in the different parameters.

There is a variety of factors that determine this and this is explained briefly (although not in detail).

  • Talent
  • Infrastructure
  • Operating Environment
  • Research
  • Development
  • Government Strategy
  • Commercial

European Countries in the Top 10

The graphics are disjointed due to my mistakes rather than that of Tortoise as I simply screen-captured the aforementioned country rankings.

The only companies that ranks top ten 10 are UK, Germany, France and Ireland. Notably UK scores 1st and France scores 2nd in operating environment while Finland scores 2nd in infrastructure. Both UK and Germany ranks highly in research on artificial intelligence.

According to Tortoise:

“The UK excels at applying AI to genomics to speed up drug discovery and development. The NHS recently gained its own AI lab dedicated to advancing early disease detection, personalised medicine and more efficient hospital management.”

Should We Look to the European Rising Stars?

Since the title of this article includes rising stars and I think this is an interesting category to explore. In terms of ranking they are.

Ireland is amongst the top ten, but is also categorised as a rising star. Switzerland ranks highly in terms of research placing 7th. Finland reaches a high placement in terms of infrastructure. Spain scores highly on government strategy, while the Netherlands places highly both on talent and development while it places much lower on research. Denmark overall does not reach the high numbers, while on the other hand being well rounded in many areas.

Who Has AI Strategies according to Tortoise?

The index provides a picture of current AI strategies. Although it does not explain or link the given strategies and miss a few out with some mistakes it is still an interesting picture.

This map is of course outdated as both Norway and Sweden has AI strategies. It must be said that it was already flawed when it came out as Sweden had an AI strategy at the time of publication. In addition there are several countries in Europe that has published ‘drafts’ or AI strategy and I am uncertain whether this study considers those countries as part of the orange or blue.

As a side note I would rather recommend the Future of Life Institute’s Page on AI Policy.

Rounding off in terms of the global understanding purported by Tortoise it can be mentioned that:

More than $35 billion has been publicly earmarked by governments to spend on AI development over the next decade, with $22 billion promised by China alone. Many more billions may have been allocated secretly through defence departments which are not made public.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 231. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.



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