Launch of the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index

April 29, 2019

Over the past few months, AI4D partner Oxford Insights, an international public sector consultancy specialising in AI, has been working with the IDRC to prepare the second edition of the Government AI Readiness Index. The Index measures governments’ readiness for implementing AI in their internal operations and in public service delivery. The 2019 edition of the Index will help inform the design of the IDRC’s Artificial Intelligence for Development initiative (AI4D). AI4D will focus on research and capacity-building aimed at developing AI applications that are inclusive, ethical, and rights-based.

The 2019 Government AI Readiness Index builds on the methodology developed in the first edition, which combined nine input metrics to produce a composite score for OECD governments. This year, the methodology has evolved to include 11 metrics, grouped under four high-level clusters: governance; infrastructure and data; skills and education; and government and public services. The data is derived from a variety of resources. These include desk research into AI strategies, databases such as the number of registered AI startups on Crunchbase, and indices such as the UN eGovernment Development Index.

We wanted this year’s index to be more globally representative than last year’s group of OECD governments, so we have expanded the scope to cover all UN countries. Having calculated scores for all 194 governments included in the report, we invited experts from each region to contribute commentary to help bring our findings to life with their insights and local knowledge.

It is hoped that the Index will serve to highlight any global disparities in terms of access to AI, to help prevent existing inequalities becoming further entrenched in the age of automation. Rather than fuelling a global ‘race for AI’, the Index is intended to aid policymakers around the world to identify areas where they are performing well, and areas which may require further attention. The inclusion of commentary by regional experts is intended to assist with this, by helping to contextualise governments’ AI readiness in a way that is not possible through quantitative research alone.

The 2019 Government AI Readiness Index scores and report have now been finalised, and are due to be published on Tuesday, 21st May.