The World of A.I.

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Judging by the breathless coverage, it can seem as if the only countries developing A.I. are the United States and China. But while companies in those two countries are leading the way in cutting-edge research and products, it’s still early for the industry and other nations are working hard to become major A.I. players. Here are six that could challenge the two juggernauts.

An autonomous electric bus being tested in May in Singapore.CreditNicky Loh/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

Singapore was one of the first countries to announce a national strategy, called A.I. Singapore, in May 2017. The initiative brings the government, research institutions and companies together to collaborate on research and speed up local adoption of A.I., with $109 million to spend over five years. Singapore also has a head start in autonomous vehicles: It had the first self-driving taxis for use by the public and built a mini-town for further testing.

The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the Middle East to publish an A.I. strategy, and the only country in the world to create a Ministry of Artificial Intelligence. While the Emiratis are trying to attract international attention with bold projects like an A.I.-powered lab focused on climate change, this summer they taught 600 local students at an A.I. camp to develop their own talent pool.

Israel is becoming a world leader in medical A.I. with dozens of new health care start-ups in a country that has a population just shy of New Jersey’s. The government announced a five-year program with a budget of $280 million to digitize patient data and use A.I. to gather important insights, with hopes of turning the homegrown expertise into consumer products that could make Israel an industry leader.

India released its A.I. strategy only this summer, but it contains a big idea that could catch them up: become the “garage” that develops A.I. that creates economic growth and social development for themselves and the rest of the developing world. The plan, which they are calling #AIforAll, will focus on projects around health care, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation.

The French government released a 150-page document earlier this year that spells out its A.I. efforts around the health, environment, transportation and security sectors, and is putting $2 billion into funding projects around those areas. And when (or if) Britain leaves the European Union, France is well placed to be the union’s epicenter of A.I. Both Google and Facebook already have offices in Paris dedicated to A.I. research.

Geoffrey Hinton, a leading expert in artificial intelligence, has helped build an A.I. industry in Canada.CreditAaron Vincent Elkaim for The New York Times

Two of the four “godfathers” of the current A.I. boom, Yoshua Bengio and Geoffrey Hinton, live, work, and teach in Canada. Their efforts have helped spur major research and an A.I. industry there, including offices for Uber, Facebook and Google. The current immigration restrictions in the United States have also sent talented international researchers to Canada instead of Silicon Valley.

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