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The Pitfalls of Sovereign AI

A Icloud

By: Mary Jander

Sovereign AI, the concept whereby a government establishes and manages its own artificial intelligence platform, has taken off like a rocket. Encouraged by NVIDIA, Dell, HPE, IBM, Oracle, and other vendors, countries are looking to set up dedicated “AI factories” that use government data to create AI applications.

Nations are taking a variety of approaches to setting up sovereign AI. Some are working closely with private industry. Others are working through telecommunications companies and government-subsidized utilities. Many are looking to ecosystems of private and public partners to reach their AI goals.

But the road ahead doesn’t look smooth. Various competing interests are clashing at the government level, where arguments against spending, vendor selection, and policy have erupted. There are concerns about security. And there are considerations about how AI should be matched to a country or region’s specific ethics and values.

Specific Challenges of Sovereign AI

Some experts claim that despite the potential benefits of sovereign AI to boost a nation’s economic fortunes, party-line divisions, bureaucracy, and competing interests could thwart specific projects. In the U.S., for instance, bipartisan efforts and presidential proposals have not resulted in a coherent strategy for sovereign AI, despite robust deployments in the private sector.

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