Stanford Publishes Yearly AI Report: Earlier this month, Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence released its 2021 AI Index. Now in its fourth edition, the yearly report aims to provide a comprehensive account of the state of AI research and development, education, policy, investment and more. Among its findings:
Chinese AI research continues to grow. After overtaking the United States in total AI journal publications in 2017, China took the top spot for total number of AI article citations in 2020. While this finding has received some public attention, observers noted that total citations is a poor proxy for quality (see also here) and U.S. and European publications maintain consistent leads in weighted measures of citation impact.
AI scholars are flocking to private industry. The percentages of new North American AI PhD graduates joining academia and industry were roughly equal in 2010, but have diverged dramatically over the past decade. In 2019 — the most recent year for which data was available — 65.7% of graduates went into private industry, compared to 23.7% who remained in academia.
The field of AI still struggles with diversity. In 2019, only 2.4% of U.S. AI PhD graduates were Black, and only 3.2% were Hispanic. Meanwhile, women made up 22.1% of North American AI PhD graduates in 2019, a proportion that has changed little over the last decade.
Despite increased investment overall — up to $40 billion in 2020, an increase of 9.3% compared to 2019 — the number of newly funded companies fell for the third year in a row. After peaking above 4,000 in 2017, fewer than 1,000 new AI companies received funding in 2020.
The United States continues to receive the lion’s share of private AI investment, drawing $23.6 billion compared to second-place China’s $9.9 billion and the third-place U.K.’s $1.9 billion.
White House Issues Interim National Security Strategic Guidance: The Biden administration has issued its interim national security strategic guidance, naming artificial intelligence as part of “a revolution in technology that poses both peril and promise” and emphasizing the necessity of maintaining the United States’ technological advantage. The interim guidance — meant to help federal agencies align their priorities with the White House before it releases its full national security strategy later this year — promises a shift in both emphasis and funding from “unneeded legacy platforms” to new technologies; a streamlined development, testing and acquisition process; changes in training; and rules and normative frameworks to ensure the new technologies are “used responsibly.” Both the guidance and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s speech introducing it emphasized plans to work with allies and partners to shape the rules around emerging technologies. While the White House has not yet given an intended publication date for its full National Security Strategy, Secretary Blinken said it would be finalized “over the next several months.”
Senators Introduce Bill to Create Tech Partnership Among Democracies: On March 4, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Democracy Technology Partnership Act. The bill aims to confront China’s technological influence by creating a partnership of democratic countries that would set international standards and coordinate export controls on critical technologies, including artificial intelligence. Sens. Bennet, Cornyn, Menendez, Rubio, Sasse, Schumer and Young joined lead sponsor Sen. Warner in co-sponsoring the bill, which would establish an International Technology Partnership Office at the State Department — headed by a Special Ambassador for Technology and staffed by officials from various agencies — tasked with building the “technology-based partnership of democratic countries.” The act would also establish a $5 billion fund for supporting joint research projects and investing in technology in third-country markets.
In Translation CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
FedScoop: CSET’s big leadership news made headlines at FedScoop. The outlet covered CSET Founding Director Jason Matheny’s move to the Biden administration to become deputy assistant to the president for technology and national security, deputy director for national security in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and coordinator for technology and national security at the National Security Council, and the appointment of Dewey Murdick, formerly CSET’s Director of Data Science, as Interim Director.
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