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Artificial intelligence

India has an AI plan—but it’s a long way from catching up with China and the US

India is the latest country to announce a national AI initiative. But AI’s leading countries are unlikely to let another player muscle in on their turf.

The plan: A task force established by the Indian government has released a report on artificial intelligence that calls for the country to boost investment and focus on deploying the technology in manufacturing, health care, agriculture, education, and public utilities.

The challenge: India is on course to become the third-largest economy in the world (by GDP) within the next few years. But the country may find it hard to kick-start its own AI revolution. India is playing catch-up with China and the West in terms of technology, research prowess, investment, and—crucially—data, the lifeblood of AI.

Power balance: The countries that already hold an AI advantage are also keen to export the technology—and use data from users in developing nations to increase their lead. This could exacerbate international power dynamics, separating countries into the AI haves and have-nots. One reaction to that could be for governments to become more protective of their citizens’ data.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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