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Which Country Is Best For Artificial Intelligence?

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Artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting and lucrative sectors in tech right now.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has captured the public imagination and there are a lot of reasons to be excited about it’s potential. And, if you’re hoping to get involved, then no doubt you’ll want to know where the best opportunities are.

In this article, we explore some of the best countries for Artificial Intelligence and the factors that come into play when choosing one over another.

Factors that affect AI development

Most articles on which country leads in AI don’t consider many of these factors, often assuming biases of their own authors.

For example: China might get a bad press from western journalists who complain about censorship, or India might seem like an obvious choice for outsourcing AI development to. But in reality, there are many other factors at play, which will determine the best country for Artificial Intelligence in 2018.

The Tech Talent Gap The number of people with experience building AI software is relatively small when compared to the global workforce. And this means that demand outstrips supply when it comes to hiring new talent. Which also drives up wages.

For example, a recent article by Business Insider suggests that US engineers who have good knowledge of machine learning can command salaries of around $300k per year. This makes developing countries even more attractive- because they’re generally cheaper places to live than developed economies- something worth bearing in mind if you’d prefer not to be paid so much!

The talent pool is also highly regional, with the US leading in terms of AI development. One government study estimated that 47% of all AI professionals are based in California. With statistics like this, it might seem obvious which country leads the way when it comes to developing artificial intelligence. Except it’s not so clear cut! Which brings us on to our next factor…

Startup Opportunities Countries with a small population have difficulty building up an adequate supply of engineers at scale- so they tend to be more reliant on startups for growth. And although this makes them good places to get into business, they somewhat detract from their attractiveness for people looking for work in AI.

This isn’t absolute by any means though- if you’re determined enough it’s certainly possible to build up your own company or get involved in the right kind of project.

Another factor that affects startups is funding- and developing countries tend to be less explored by VCs when compared with America (and China which has its own issues). It might seem like this would make it harder to progress in AI research if you’re based in a startup hub outside of America- but it’s important not to generalise.

Because many entrepreneurs are happily bootstrapping their way through life, especially when they have access to free education! This factor does change how attractive certain countries are for working on AI though, depending on what stage you’d like to work at within the industry.

Specialist Campuses Sometimes companies will offer specialist educational schemes to help provide a supply of new employees for their AI divisions. One such example is the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute - which has campuses in Toronto and Silicon Valley. This program offers free training courses to upskill students, who can then apply for jobs with NVIDIA upon completion. Other companies might also do similar things- depending on how much they rely on hiring talent from outside of America (due to the high cost of living in California).

So if you’re an AI student looking for work in 2018, it’s worth checking your local universities to see if there are any campuses nearby offering specialised education in AI research. It could be that you decide that one country isn’t right for you after all, because it doesn’t offer the right opportunities- even if it’s an otherwise good choice.

Concluding Thoughts As you probably realised, there are many factors at play when trying to find out which country is best for Artificial Intelligence. But most of these issues tend to come down to one thing- whether you’re willing to work hard enough (and network accordingly) in order to get a job in AI research.

Because although some countries might have other downsides compared with America or China, it’s often possible for smart people from outside these areas to make their way through the ranks and become successful by sheer force of will!

Just remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way- and don’t let cultural differences stand in your way if they prove difficult to deal with.

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A new tech publication by Start it up (https://medium.com/swlh).

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James J. Davis

James J. Davis

Software developer with 30 years of experience

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