The Global AI Index review: Which are the best countries in AI?

Due to its transformative capabilities, especially in business, culture, warfare, and society, Artificial intelligence is one of the most critical sectors of the new era. Unfortunately, it is often misrepresented by traditional media.

The global AI index takes a detailed look at various key indicators to measure the who-is-who in the AI industry and the changes experienced within the industry due to global factors. This review considers 62 nations worldwide by examining the forces of accelerated development in artificial intelligence by considering three areas.

These three areas include:

  • Innovation.
  • Implementation. 
  • Investment.

Key Points from this Global AI Index

AI has become an integral part of drug design and discovery as investments in medical AI represent the most significant private investment for the pandemic-ridden year of 2020. With an approximate figure set at USD 13 billion, AI investment in drug discovery and design remains the most heavily invested sector, over four times the investment in previous years.

Thanks to extensive innovations by the highest-ranked countries in this index, AI systems are now more capable of multimedia composition. Texts, images, and audio composed by AI are almost indistinguishable by humans. It is becoming increasingly challenging to differentiate synthetic or non-synthetic outputs from a human point of view. 

Some countries include the United States, which has perfect talent, infrastructure, research and development, and commercial investment. These ensure that the U.S sits comfortably at number one (1) of this global AI index. Seconded only by China which comes in second in terms of infrastructure, research, and commercial investment.

Other countries that make up the first 6 include the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, and Israel. These countries boast at least 60 points in government strategy in terms of investment except for Israel.

China seems to be challenging the U.S for the top spot as the country has overtaken the U.S in AI journal citations. At least 65% of graduating PhDs continued their path within the foray of industry in the U.S. This continues to highlight the growing roles of AI in the industrial sector.

While there’s a notable increase in the influx of PhDs into the industry, there have been concerns about a diversity challenge in the U.S, citing over 45% of new U.S resident Ph.D. holders being white as opposed to a measly 3.2% Hispanic and 2.4% African American representation respectively.


On the bright side, the U.S seems to be enjoying a large talent pool as it holds the number one(1) spot for talent and infrastructure. This may be attributed to the growing willingness of international students among new AI PhDs within the North American continent to stay back in the U.S. 

A whopping 81.8% are said to be staying back in the United States, while only 8.6% have agreed to take jobs outside the United States. One of the major drivers for the insistence of foreign AI PhDs to remain in the U.S is the special infrastructural provisions and the sheer volume of private and government investment in AI.

Perfect scores in infrastructure and commercial investment make the U.S an AI enthusiast’s dreamland.

Technically and Ethically

On a more technical level, surveillance technologies seem to be benefiting extensively from the innovations within the AI industry. These techs have become highly affordable and readily available on request. This has given rise to concerns by AI pundits on the possibility of large-scale video surveillance deployments as significant growth in face recognition and voice identification, among others, have become quite evident over the past few years.

This has essentially given rise to the consistent call for evidently lacking AI benchmarks, and consensus as existing ethics do not qualitatively or normatively state the boundaries of AI technology.

Perhaps, due to these lapses in ethics, AI has garnered the attention of the U.S Congress, with the 116th congress being the most AI-oriented congress in history.

A lot seems to be happening in the U.S with regards to the AI industry. However, let’s take a look at some of the other countries in our list of 62.


Other Countries and AI

South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria respectively fall within the last ten countries in the global AI index review, suggesting that Africa remains behind in the race towards AI.

Nigeria comes at number 61 with zero points in government strategy regarding investment and zero points in infrastructure. Pakistan completes the list at number 62, significantly lacking in the areas of the operating environment.

Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia all make a list, respectively, with Brazil scoring an impressive 54.6 in government strategy investments.

Overall, North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are all well represented in the first ten (10) spots of the global AI index review. The first ten countries are as follows:

  1. United States of America
  2. China
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada
  5. South Korea
  6. Israel
  7. Germany
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Singapore
  10. France

The bottom ten (10) nations include:

  1. Turkey
  2. South Africa
  3. Tunisia
  4. Morocco
  5. Vietnam
  6. Kenya 
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. Egypt
  9. Nigeria
  10. Pakistan

A notable pattern is the seeming availability of infrastructure by most countries with inadequate talents to utilize these infrastructures effectively. Also, it turns out that investments in artificial intelligence from commercial sources may be attributed to the exponential growth observed in countries such as the U.S. 

This may, to large extents, explain the gap between the U.S and other countries on the list. Most countries that come close with little to no commercial investments are supported by government strategy investments. These countries include Canada, China, South Korea, Germany, and the United Kingdom, respectively. The U.S also boasts of a 77 point score in terms of government strategy investment, making it the hub of AI investments.

Other notable mentions include the UAE, which has a perfect score of 100 in government strategy investments but remains below the first 20, perhaps due to a severe lack of available talent. This is also the case with Saudi Arabia, which holds a much higher position than the UAE on this list.

The Global AI index points out that one of the significant proponents of AI growth is Commercial investment. Other integral factors include the availability of talent and infrastructure.

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