Technology means economic efficiency. Efficiency is the most determining factor of competition. Therefore, the technological capacity of countries directly affects their position in global trade. Throughout history, countries that have managed to produce more at less cost thanks to advanced technology have provided economic superiority to their competitors. The reason why technology moves turn into a fierce race in the international arena lies here.
Artificial Intelligence and Transformation
Today, humanity is making one of the most important technological leaps in its history. The development of artificial intelligence will bring innovations that change the rules of the game all over the world. Economic conditions, business, industry, human resources, demanded expertise, cities, homes and even weekly working hours are expected to change with the effect of this new technology.
One side of the transformation caused by technological progress is constructive and the other side is destructive. On the one hand, it makes our lives easier and increases our production capacity and therefore our income, on the other hand, it quickly replaces old technologies and destroys some employment areas. To give an example for a better understanding of the subject, typewriter repair, which used to be an employment door, has disappeared with the replacement of the typewriter with new technologies. The skills developed by people who are specialized in this field have lost their status and new conditions have emerged in which different skills are demanded. The development of artificial intelligence is similar to the situation in this example but will produce results on a much larger scale. Therefore, being indifferent to the rise of this technology is not a viable option for any society.
So, How Should We Prepare For This Big Transformation?
The most important answer to this question is education. The current trend shows that the importance of physical skills will gradually decrease in the business world, and jobs that require these skills will begin to be performed by robots rather than humans. This will be the destructive dimension of artificial intelligence. Whereas the importance of mental skills and related specialties will increase more and more. We will need lawyers who will solve ethical problems related to artificial intelligence, experts who will provide data security, and engineers who will carry out R&D activities more than ever. In other words, artificial intelligence will destroy some employment areas, while some will increase. For this reason, it should be our priority for our children to acquire skills and equipment suitable for the future employment conditions. The way to this is undoubtedly going through education. In this context, the opening of programming courses in schools, which has been discussed recently and also voiced by our Minister of National Education, Ziya Selçuk, will be a very promising step if it is put into practice.
Artificial Intelligence Strategies of Countries
Countries started to create road maps and strategy plans focused directly on artificial intelligence. Each of these strategies, mostly announced in the past 2 years, focuses on a different dimension of artificial intelligence. Here are some of them:
China: The “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” published by the government in July 2017 stands out as the most detailed program among the artificial intelligence strategies published by countries so far. This program, which sets separate targets and incentives for each of the R&D, industry, human resources, education, ethics, legal regulations and security issues, ultimately aims to make China the center of artificial intelligence innovation by 2030. By the same year, it is aimed to reach the total volume of artificial intelligence and related sectors to $ 1.4 trillion. It is also announced that the government will establish a technology park in Beijing, in cooperation with local companies, with an investment of $ 2.1 billion for artificial intelligence research.
EU: In April 2018, the EU Commission published a 20-page document announcing the EU’s approach and priorities to the development of artificial intelligence. The commission declared the development of the necessary technological and industrial infrastructure for the adaptation of artificial intelligence as the first priority. Besides, preparing Europeans for the socio-economic transformation caused by artificial intelligence is also among the primary objectives. Other remarkable topics that the Commission emphasizes are security, necessary legal regulations and transparency. With the development of artificial intelligence, it is underlined that new studies should be conducted on each of these areas.
France: A program with a budget of € 1.5 billion has been announced in order to move France to the world leader position in the field of artificial intelligence industry, education and research. The plan consists of 4 main components:
1- To strengthen the artificial intelligence ecosystem with incentives and to bring France to become an artificial intelligence center in the international arena.
2- With the free data policy to be implemented, remove obstacles to the development of artificial intelligence.
3- Supporting the development of national artificial intelligence leaders with programs to be prepared in the legal and financial framework.
4- Making the necessary regulations to meet ethical criteria and to realize the use of artificial intelligence without causing discrimination and customer victimization.
Canada: The AI program, announced in the 2017 federal budget, focuses specifically on talent and research. Unlike other countries, it contains almost no steps in manufacturing and investment. The Canadian government’s primary goal is to achieve the world’s most advanced level of human resources in all areas related to artificial intelligence. In other words, if the program is successful, Canadian experts will come to the fore in law, consultancy, research and all other issues related to artificial intelligence in the world.
Denmark: Denmark announced its AI strategy in January 2018. According to the program, Denmark aims to achieve the digital transformation of the business and service sectors, rather than the manufacturing sector. The program, which declared the aim of making Danish companies world-class in the application of digital technologies, announced that 38 new incentives will be implemented for this purpose.
USA: The USA did not prepare a specific strategy plan on artificial intelligence with a free market-centered approach. In addition, President Trump’s technology consultant, Michael Kratsios, made a speech in May 2018, summarizing the government’s approach to the development of artificial intelligence. In this speech, four goals were declared: Maintaining the USA’s world leader position in artificial intelligence, protecting the rights of American employees, supporting public R&D activities, removing obstacles to innovation.
Turkey: Although Turkey has not yet disclosed an artificial intelligence strategy, in the report “Digital Turkey Road Map” which was published by the Ministry of Industry and Technology in June 2018, artificial intelligence and autonomous robots was announced to prepare the strategic plan for the focus areas of technology. Although not certain details, Turkey’s primary interest appears to be applying this new technology to the manufacturing industry.