Singapore has been ranked as one of the most prepared countries for AI, according to the 2022 Government AI Readiness Index by Oxford.
Although the United States tops the overall index, Singapore’s progress in key areas has propelled it into second place. Indeed, the country leads in two out of three pillars, namely government, and data and infrastructure.
“Both the USA and Singapore sit far ahead of the other top-scoring countries, with a 5.58-point difference between Singapore and the United Kingdom, which comes in third place,” noted the report.
However, the report suggests those two countries take different routes to success.
AI is a trending topic in the technology industry, with many tech giants competing to become frontrunners. Different governments and power centers around the world are also pushing towards the AI era with great enthusiasm.
East Asian countries rising
The global AI landscape is undergoing a shift, as fewer Western European countries make it to the top 10 while three East Asian countries secure top positions.
This suggests East Asian countries are emerging as major contenders in the AI race, while Western European countries face stiffer competition from nations in other regions.
“While Western European countries make up half of the top 20, only the United Kingdom, Finland, France, and the Netherlands are in the top 10,” stated the report.
The top positions are dominated by East Asian countries, including Singapore, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. These nations stand out for their high performance in the Data & Infrastructure pillar, which places them ahead of some of the major Western European economies.
Despite this, Western Europe still ranks second in the overall regional rankings. However, this ranking also indicates a greater inequality within the East Asian region.
The report shows that all Western European countries that were ranked are found in the top 50% of countries, while two East Asian countries are located in the bottom 25%.
Developing countries lead AI strategy
The report found that developing countries are taking the lead in AI strategy, according to regional analyses conducted across 9 regions based on UN and World Bank groupings.
“AI strategy work is dominated by middle income countries,” stated the report.
Middle-income countries, particularly those in South & Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, have been able to develop and implement successful AI strategies, showcasing that they are not falling behind in the AI race.
“The higher proportion of middle income countries we see working on AI strategies this year reflects the fact that high income countries were the first income group to form national AI strategies,” states the report.
However, the lack of low income countries represented in the AI policy world remains a concern.
“For AI applications to be developed that target these problems, the ambitions of low income countries must be considered and included in ongoing global AI policy work,” added the report.
It was noted that all 13 middle income countries classified as lower-middle income countries have just started work on their AI strategies, though none have published a full strategy yet. Four upper-middle income countries, meanwhile, have already published their full strategies, indicating progress in the region.