Putin outlines Russia’s national AI strategy priorities

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered the best insight yet at what shape the country’s AI strategy will take.

Putin ordered his government apparatus on February 27th to formulate a national artificial intelligence strategy by June 25th. With that date quickly approaching, the world is waiting to see Russia’s AI plans.

Back in September 2017, Putin famously said the nation which leads in AI “will become the ruler of the world.” Understandably, Putin’s comments generated fear of a cold war-like rush to militarise AI technology.

The Russian leader’s most recent speech won’t help to ease those concerns after reiterating that AI offers unprecedented power, including military power, to any government that leads in the field.

“Mechanisms of artificial intelligence provide real-time fast decision-making based on the analysis of huge amounts of information, which gives tremendous advantages in quality and effectiveness,” he said. “If someone can provide a monopoly in the field of artificial intelligence, then the consequences are clear to all of us: he will rule the world.”

However, there appears to be some understanding from Russia’s president of the need for a level-headed approach to AI. Putin suggested his government needs to enshrine and protect citizens’ rights and new intellectual property.

Other key areas highlighted by Putin for Russia’s AI development include:

  • Training initiatives
  • Legislative support
  • Public-private cooperation
  • Efforts to advance Russia’s STEM strengths

Putin spoke of the need to ensure “the readiness of society, citizens for the widespread introduction of such technologies. It is, therefore, necessary to provide widespread digital education, to launch retraining programs.”

An increased need for AI funding was also touched upon. Putin said cash will need to be invested from both the state and investors through public-private cooperation.

“Russia should become one of the key platforms for solving complex scientific problems with the participation of scientists from around the world,” declared Putin.

“It is fundamentally important to tune our legislation to a new technological reality, quickly and efficiently form a flexible, adequate legal basis for the development and use of artificial intelligence-based application solutions, as well as special regimes for private investment in creating breakthrough solutions,” he said.

The overview of what’s forming the base of Russia’s AI strategy was provided by Putin during a May 30th speech.

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