12 February 2021
Los Angeles, CA


If there’s one thing we know about artificial intelligence it’s this: AI is a disruptive innovation that has the power to make the world a better place. As cliché as it sounds, decision-makers around the world are already realizing the value of AI for resolving global issues. AI has come to mean more than just a competitive advantage for companies, but an important solution providing better healthcare for those in need, improving the state of the global climate change crisis, yielding power in underserved communities, and numerous other examples.
However, uncertainty around AI implementation remains one of the biggest obstacles the world is facing when it comes to embracing these transformative technological solutions. Some regions do exhibit higher levels of AI maturity while others exhibit different priorities when it comes to AI implementation. This is where decision-makers must recognize that AI is not a one-time magic wand but part of a continual improvement process – one that can be evolved by gaining insights from those around the world who are paving pioneering roads for successful AI solutions.
AI Around the Globe
+ Europe
According to the 2020 Government AI Readiness Index from Oxford Insights, the UK, Finland, Germany, and Sweden are leading Europe’s AI market. On the global scale, however, insights from The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggest that Europe as a whole still has much to accomplish compared to the United States, China, and Israel. Despite their position compared to their global counterparts, with their extensive resources in education and research as well as the European Commission’s efforts to elevate AI Research and Design (R&D) investment, Europe is set to focus coordinated efforts toward addressing the digital skills gap and building a framework for increasing trust in AI adoption.
+ North Africa & Middle East
On a different note, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are leading the charge in the Middle East, with the UAE specifically demonstrating massive potential in terms of AI readiness. This is, in large part, thanks to a proactive government that has prioritized AI implementation through the UAE Strategy for AI and the National Program for Artificial Intelligence created in 2017.
Despite progress made in local AI applications like natural language processing and machine learning-based systems, many countries in the Middle East and North Africa region face challenges due to poor datasets and political instability in some areas. Inhibitors to AI adoption range from uncertainty around the economic implications of AI applications to security and ethical concerns related to representation. Countries in this region must focus on implementing proper policy, data, and knowledge infrastructures to better set the foundation for AI development.
+ Asia Pacific
Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China are the four countries that top the scale for AI readiness in this region. According to a Deloitte study on how countries are pursuing AI, China’s government has stated its desire to be the world’s leader in AI innovation by 2030, demonstrating its commitment to competitive digital innovation. They have poured billions worth of US dollars toward AI applications and are leading the world in annual government R&D spending at around $59 billion. AI governance is a top priority for both Singapore and China alike, with both countries going as far as establishing advisory councils to determine how to best implement responsible AI tactics, mitigate concerns, and build consumer trust.
On the other hand, South Korea and Japan are equipped with their own advantages including data availability and representativeness. With a staggering percentage of their population being internet users, not to mention widespread 5G deployment in South Korea, these two countries are poised to lead innovations in areas like autonomous vehicles, smart manufacturing, and gaming.
+ North America
In this region, both the United States and Canada are considered the top innovators – with the United States leading the world in AI readiness. Both regions have strong strategic methods for implementing AI and both have the means to do so considering the advanced technology and data infrastructure they possess. The US government has led many initiatives to implement national standards and priorities for AI development as well as regulations for how to manage the technology. Canada was also one of the first countries to release a national approach for AI when it launched the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy with CIFAR in 2017.
Overall, the US and Canada foster an incredible amount of dedication towards technological advancement demonstrated through increased R&D spending and international cooperation in AI research. However, even for these unwaveringly dedicated tech giants, some challenges have yet to be faced. Canada will need to address its impeding concerns for making wrong AI-backed decisions, while the US must continue to address the pressing skill-gap and, more importantly, data security concerns in light of the Covid-19 health crisis.

How Cognitive AI Can Help
Artificial intelligence is a big part of an evolving technological improvement process and innovators are progressing to find new ways to accelerate its use in the world’s most high-stake industries like energy and healthcare. As such, global decision-makers must understand the impact that an AI system can bring to global value chains in the following industries to derive the most ROI from its implementation.
+ Energy & Utilities
The global energy value chain stands to gain a lot from employing Cognitive AI, as can be seen with Beyond Limits’ contract order through Xcell to provide the world’s first cognitive power plant in West Africa. As many as 8.7 million people in this region are currently without access to electricity, with spotty service throughout the day at best. Cognitive AI can address this pressing issue by enabling inexperienced power plant operators to make strategic decisions based on recommendations from a cognitive system that possesses and makes accessible essential knowledge.
+ Healthcare
AI has been a driving force in this industry. In fact, it has played a pivotal role in helping to address the Covid-19 pandemic. A great example of this is shown through Beyond Limits’ partnership with medical professionals to tackle some issues created by the global pandemic by developing a dynamic predictive model that allows for more accurate prognostic analysis, resource allocation, and decision making. AI can also deliver advanced solutions for patient monitoring to allow for real-time analysis of their vitals. Not to mention, it can also support in mitigating the risk of inadequate healthcare in developing countries that lack basic resources, ultimately resulting in a higher standard of care.
+ Manufacturing & Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
AI and IIoT are key components to achieving the coveted smart factory for manufacturers as well as logistics and supply chain managers alike. In fact, over 50% of respondents in an MHI Annual Industry Report declare artificial intelligence and IIoT as potentially disruptive technologies with the ability to give companies a significant competitive advantage. Organizations in the sector can leverage cyber-physical systems and AI to reduce hazardous manual labor tasks, utilize predictive maintenance analytics, and increase supply chain automation as well as optimize facility integrations.
+ Financial Services & Banking
Quality and risk assessment are some of the biggest benefits of implementing AI in financing and banking. Specifically, AI can increase visibility for bankers and credit lenders through AI algorithms to make underwriting decisions with more accuracy as well as enhance monitoring capabilities for quality and risk in credit portfolios. Through machine learning capabilities, financial institutions are better able to create more accurate predictions by pinpointing trends and analyzing data in greater depth.
+ Smart City Projects
By leveraging current technologies and policies, cities have the potential to reduce their carbon emissions by 90% by 2050. Specifically, smart city projects such as those bp are undertaking in Houston and Aberdeen have the potential to make serious headway toward mitigating carbon emissions through decarbonized transport, low carbon energy and gas, and smart buildings. As a result, this paves the way for a higher quality of life via optimized costs and a cleaner industry.
Overcoming Barriers to AI Adoption
As is the case when pursuing new and uncharted opportunities, challenges will inevitably follow. According to insights from the aforementioned Deloitte study, we can identify a few major factors that inhibit many countries from fully embracing AI adoption:
+ Maturity- how advanced a country’s AI infrastructure is, as well as the ability to achieve and scale impact from AI implementation
+ Urgency- how rapidly countries are adopting and implementing AI strategies
+ Overall challenges- technical skills gap, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, distrust, etc.
Only 21% of overall global respondents from Deloitte’s study declared they were “seasoned” AI early adopters with the United States exhibiting the highest level of AI maturity. Additionally, 43% declared themselves as “skilled” while 36% stated they were “starters,” not yet having developed proficiency in AI strategies or implementation.
Despite varying levels of maturity, a significant percentage of respondents (63%) state that AI is critical to their company’s success and are seeking ways to advance their maturity level. Additionally, many global respondents are more likely to use AI to create a competitive advantage rather than to catch up with fellow key players, further demonstrating their intent to instigate rapid change on their AI journeys.
It’s a fact that global companies recognize the value of AI adoption. The AI infrastructure market is even expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 21% from 2021 through 2026 according to Mordor Intelligence. However, companies are still met with challenges that inhibit this adoption process.
The technical skills gap is one such challenge that many countries face. In a SnapLogic survey conducted with 300 IT leaders across the US and UK, a lack of skilled talent was cited as the number one barrier to progressing their AI initiatives. Others like Germany are concerned with AI ethics and how it can manipulate information or create falsehoods. The US and China, in particular, are concerned with cybersecurity vulnerabilities and how to combat these risks.
Artificial intelligence is constantly evolving and adapting to humans’ most critical needs in the world’s most heavyweight industries. Because of the weight and complexity in these industries, global decision-makers need an AI technology they can trust if they wish to overcome their hesitancy around adoption. Such trust is more easily built through an AI solution they can actually understand. This is where Cognitive AI comes into play. By implementing explainable systems that can emulate human reasoning to understand and resolve problems, decision-makers are better able to derive meaning from these solutions and make pivotal decisions more strategically.
AI proliferation across the globe has never been more prominent – with countries demonstrating outstanding capabilities in terms of data governance, technical advantages, investment, and building the necessary infrastructure to support AI solutions. As AI continues to grow more advanced and the application of solutions more extensive, the more that global decision-makers must partner with leading AI innovators to overcome challenges and pursue better opportunities.
As one of many pioneers in AI innovation, we’ve come to realize the need for AI and collaborative partnerships to more adequately sustain our current industries. As part of our ongoing effort to develop these partnerships, we’ve expanded our reach across the globe into APAC and MEA regions to deliver AI solutions where they’re needed most. By taking a collaborative approach to AI innovation, and working with other pioneers in the space, global decision-makers will be better prepared to incorporate these advanced solutions into their business operations and ultimately drive impact toward a transformative future.