MOSCOW - Russia can hardly be identified as a leading country when it comes to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. It ranks 32nd out of 62 countries in Tortoise Media’s Global AI Index, behind Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Slovenia.1 Nevertheless, despite these figures, the Russian government places a strong emphasis on the development of AI technologies, which it regards as vital for national security.
The country has achieved some visible successes in the use of AI for governance as well as for military use. Although Oxford Insights’ Government Artificial Intelligence Readiness Index 2022 ranks Russia 42nd out of 183 countries,2 it gives Moscow a score of 76.21 points in the government field, which is higher than Germany, Italy, or Israel.
High-tech business is often regarded as a weak spot for Russia’s AI industry. Although the country is home to such technological corporations as Yandex, Sber, Mail.Ru Group and MTS, the government has not always taken their interests into account. However, there are signs that this situation may change in the near future.
Over the last few years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated his opinion that AI technologies, especially general AI, are key to global dominance in the 21st century. In 2017, he stated that “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind… It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”3
His geopolitical point of view has largely shaped Russia’s official stance on AI, which was viewed as an efficient but dangerous tool or weapon that needs to be controlled. This view clashed with the positions held by Russia’s leading high-tech companies as well as technocrats in its government, who viewed AI mostly as an instrumenThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. Such content from The Yuan may be shared and reprinted but must clearly identify The Yuan as its original source. Content from a third-party copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in such third party’s content appearing in The Yuan must likewise be clearly labeled as such.