Europe lags behind China and the United States in artificial intelligence, the Rathenau Institute wrote in a fact sheet. The Netherlands also does relatively little AI research.
Dutch research into artificial intelligence will receive €226 million from the National Growth Fund, it was announced in April. This amount is part of an investment program of 2.1 billion euros in the years up to 2027.
Lots of money, but is it enough? The Rathenau Institute has its doubts. Nor do great powers such as China and the United States stand idly by. Expectations surrounding AI are simply high.
And according to the fact sheet, the Netherlands has no lead at the moment. We are relatively a ‘small player’. Of the 314,000 AI publications in the years 2013-2018, four thousand were from the Netherlands. That’s 1.3 percent.
By comparison, the Netherlands accounts for 2.1 percent of all scholarly articles, reviews and conference papers. Therefore, Dutch researchers are making their mark more strongly in other scientific fields.
Of the 66.5 thousand researchers in the field of artificial intelligence in the world, one thousand of them worked in the Netherlands for a while. That’s 1.5 percent, while that’s twice as often across all disciplines: 2.9 percent.
The bright spot is that the Dutch research has a relatively large impact. Americans and Canadians score better — their research is cited more often by their peers — but British and Dutch researchers roughly share third place, while, for example, they leave Chinese and Japanese researchers behind.
But in China, research in this field has seen fairly rapid growth in recent years, and the United States is catching up with Europe as well. In addition, in the United States there are in-house companies such as Google.
A good comparison with other countries is still difficult, says researcher Alexandra Finikens of the Rathenau Institute. You don’t know exactly what will happen to the plans and investments, nor how the different expenses compare. But you can’t say: we already have a plan for additional investments, so things are going well in the Netherlands. You cannot simply ignore this problem.”