Policy Approaches to Artificial Intelligence Based Technologies in China, European Union and the United States

28 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2020 Last revised: 2 Oct 2020

Date Written: September 25, 2020


This paper provides a summary survey of the policy approaches to artificial intelligence-based technologies in China, the European Union, and the United States. China has the most aggressive approach, launching major initiatives since 2015 such as ‘Made in China 2025’, the Internet Plus Plan, the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, and the Artificial Intelligence Standardization White Paper. In 2018, the EU finalized both the European AI Strategy and ‘Made in Europe’ or the Coordinated Plan on the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. Despite a traditional reticence to adopt national strategies and perhaps pushed by growing concerns about China, the US Government announced the American AI Initiative and a National AI R&D Strategic Plan in 2019. The AI approaches in these three economies reflect their relative strengths—state control in China, citizen voice in Europe, and business practices in America. Unencumbered by privacy concerns, China’s strategy is geared to exploit the abundance of domestic data and to develop AI talent through central schemes and massive injections of money. The European Union’s regulations and spending priorities are guided by the objective of building citizen trust in AI-based technologies by safeguarding privacy and ameliorating disruptions in national labor markets. The mainstay of the US approach is to strengthen the linkages between business and AI-related research, and find ways to fund basic R&D. Despite efforts to indigenize AI innovations, all three economies face challenges. China’s AI strategy continues to rely disproportionately on just three tech giants: Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, which have investments in more than a 100 AI-involved companies. Europe’s AI resources are unbalanced geographically—a quarter of Europe’s AI talent is in the UK and another quarter in Germany and France—and Brexit poses a serious risk. More than half of the AI talent in the US is foreign born, so immigration policies will inevitably be a central component of a national AI strategy.

Keywords: general purpose technologies, artificial intelligence, national strategies, China, European Union, United States

Suggested Citation

Bal, Ravtosh and Gill, Indermit S., Policy Approaches to Artificial Intelligence Based Technologies in China, European Union and the United States (September 25, 2020). Duke Global Working Paper Series No. 26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3699640 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3699640

Ravtosh Bal

Duke University ( email )

201 Science Drive
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-9985

Indermit S. Gill (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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