The Geopolitics of Artificial intelligence

Progress in artificial intelligence simultaneously brings unprecedented opportunities to humanity, and considerable threats beyond the singularity that should not be overlooked. One of the most pressing threats has to do with the unchecked AI concentration process that has unfolded in recent years. Over 250 AI related startups in different industries have been acquired by big corporations since 2012, with 37 acquisitions taking place in first quarter of 2017 alone. Such a trend can lead to another more likely scenario - namely, AI concentration in a few large international enterprises. A society in which the power of AI is left primarily in corporate hands can not only pose a threat to democratic institutions, but also to our modern way of life.

This program aims to shed some light this threat by conducting multidisciplinary and empirical research in order to tackle questions such as: who owns AI today? What is the balance between private and the public sector? What governments and companies are investing more in AI? Which institutions and countries are buying this technology? What is the scale of the current process of AI concentration? What are its economic, political and social implications?

The Project

This research program will address the above-mentioned issues by:

  • Conducting a quantitative, data-based study to determine who is developing and purchasing AI worldwide. Initial round of data collection. We will download and clean the Crunchbase database which captures various aspects of all sizeable tech startups.
  • Data analysis to create a holistic measure of National AI stock, and to determine what companies are patenting and/or purchasing more AI start-ups. We will also try to investigate how changes in AI stock affects national outcomes (eg. GDP, NI, Industrial productivity) and use econometric techniques for analysis of firm-level acquisition effects.
  • Exploring the political, economic and societal implications that the AI ownership landscape have for today’s global order.

Researchers

In partnership with:

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