AI arms race: This global index ranks which nations dominate AI development

In the wake of last year's generative AI surge, China still trails the US, while Singapore is coming up fast.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
The Global AI Index chart
Tortoise Media

Although the past few months have seen a surge in AI developments, the global AI arms race has been underway for years. Since 2020, Tortoise Media has produced its annual Global AI Index, which ranks the nations competing for AI dominance  -- and the latest rankings are in. 

Tortoise Media's fourth edition of The Global AI Index, released Wednesday, reflects last year's surge in generative developments spawned by the launch and success of ChatGPT

To determine how nations rank in terms of AI development, the media company uses three pillars of analysis: investment, innovation, and implementation. 

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At the forefront, and leading by a significant stretch, is the United States, assigned a score of 100. The US led in all three pillars, especially in terms of investment due to high scores in the Commercial Investment sub-pillar, which refers to the level of startup activity. 

This is fitting as some of the biggest leaders in the generative AI space right now are US companies such as Google, Microsoft, and most importantly, OpenAI. 

In second place is China, which scored 62 out of 100. Since 2020, both the US and China have retained their ranks in first and second place 2020. However, there was a shift in ranking for other countries. 

The UK shifted from third place in 2020 and 2021 to fourth place and was displaced by Singapore, which saw significant growth over the past few years. In 2020, Singapore was ranked in tenth place, moved up to sixth in 2021, and then in 2023 moved up three more places, scoring a 50 out of 100. 

The overall rankings reflect the countries' performance on the AI scale, but it is also worth noting countries that are leading in AI intensity. Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland led in terms of intensity meaning that these countries "perform best when looking at AI capacity relative to their population and economy size", according to the study

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As the AI race continues to build steam and more countries ramp resources to compete in the AI race, we can expect a continued shift in country rankings next year. 

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