Five things that are bigger than the Internet: Findings from this year’s Global Cloud Index

The scale of the Internet is awe-inspiring. By 2021, there will be 4.6 billion people and 27 billion devices connected to the Internet, and Internet traffic will reach 2.8 trillion.
IoT – Cisco Blog

The UK ranked top of ‘Government AI Readiness Index’

The UK has placed top of an index ranking the readiness of international governments for artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence requires government support to reach its potential. Oxford Insights conducted the research to determine which governments are more prepared to nurture AI’s potential.

“The UK is first in our rankings, reflecting its world-leading centres for AI research and strong technology industry,” say the researchers. “Although the UK has great starting conditions for AI development, it faces stiff competition from other countries seeking to be top of the global rankings.”

Oxford Insights are not alone in their warnings of the need for continued government support to reduce the risk of competitors overtaking. Just earlier this month, I reported on our sister publication IoT News of Microsoft’s belief “the UK can lead in AI, but the ‘window of opportunity’ is closing.”

In particular, Oxford Insights believe China, the US, Russia, and Canada are of particular threat — due to their ambitions to be world leaders in AI. The US is noted to do well due to tech clusters such as Silicon Valley, but a ‘stronger focus’ is required in areas such as digital skills training and data infrastructure.

The race towards AI superiority among the global superpowers has been likened to the nuclear arms race. This race is stoking fears that ethics may become a second thought and lead to dangerous scenarios; especially where AI is used for military purposes. On AI News, I recently highlighted the creation of a ‘Robot Ethics Charter’ designed to “regulate the relationship between humans and robots.”

Oxford Insights notes there is no clear geographical clustering in terms of AI readiness with leaders in the top five distributed around the globe. This indicates the expertise and conditions needed to capitalise on AI’s potential are not area-specific and even small governments may climb up the rankings with the right support.

Estonia’s e-government drive, for example, has “helped it to perform well on grass-roots indicators of innovation such as digital skills and AI startups.” The UK, meanwhile, recently announced £75 million will be set aside to boost AI development.

The top eight ranking countries in the ‘Government AI Readiness Index’ are:

  • United Kingdom

  • United States

  • Canada

  • Korea

  • Netherlands

  • France

  • Japan

  • Australia

You can find the full rankings here.

What are your thoughts on the AI readiness index? Let us know in the comments.

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GE’s Digital Industrial Evolution Index shows there is a long way to go for IIoT benefits

How big a difference is there between what is possible with the Industrial Internet and what is being done now; and what changes need to take place in order for organisations to close the gap?

These are the questions General Electric (GE) has attempted to answer in its first Digital Industrial Evolution Index, published this week. The index aims to track the real progress of digital transformation, and gives a total score of 63.0 out of 100.

It’s a meaningless number out of context, of course, so let’s give it some. The research analyses five industries – aviation, manufacturing, power and energy, transportation and utilities – across five areas, including outlook and potential, workforce and company readiness.

Manufacturing came out on top with an overall index of 66.1, and the highest outlook (81.3) and workforce readiness (69.6) scores. The average score for outlook across all five industries was 78.3, with workforce readiness at 63.4 and company readiness at 55.2.

In other words, companies are not as ready as they need to be for changes ahead. For the manufacturing sector, automating processes was seen as the biggest benefit, cited by 84% of survey respondents. The results show multiple benefits; improving profitability was cited by 80% of respondents, while higher quality services, driving growth, increasing productivity and increasing operating efficiency were all separately cited by 78%. There were similar results across the board, except for utilities, whose most popular – improving existing business processes – was cited by 66% of those polled.

When it came to barriers, investment costs (42% average across all industries) were the leading barrier to digital transformation, ahead of system security (32%) and data privacy (32%). To enable a changing ecosystem, two thirds of all respondents believe data analysts will need to be integrated into all departments and units, while 55% say their companies are responsible for ensuring the workforce is ready for the Industrial Internet.

“The Industrial Internet is already having a profound impact on industrial companies of all sizes,” said Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital. “We know this because we are seeing real benefits with our customers and across GE.

“At the same time, a gap is emerging between outlook for the IIoT and actions,” added Ruh. “We are working to close that gap by partnering with customers to accelerate change and guide companies of all sizes along their digital journeys.”

You can read the full report here (pdf).

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