Madison has boosted its potential to become an artificial intelligence powerhouse over the last decade because of research activity, according to a new report from Washington D.C.-based think tank Brookings Institution.
But the report also suggests that in order to keep up with the country’s emergent AI industry, Madison business leaders should forge more corporate research partnerships with UW-Madison. That would further boost the use of AI, promote entrepreneurship and encourage local job retention and attraction.
“Significant money is flowing into the region to support almost exclusive contracts or research and development initiatives,” explained Mark Muro, Brookings senior fellow and report co-author. “That’s very important in itself. At the same time, because federal research done at UW-Madison is also building a talent base of skilled researchers and graduate students, there’s a pipeline for future AI expansion.”
“(AI) technologies can be applied in a myriad of industries, and are widely presumed to likely drive major productivity gains,” Muro added.
For the report, Muro and his team used seven metrics to assess the research capabilities and commercialization activities of 385 metropolitan areas in the United States. The metrics sorted each area into one of five categories.
The report indicates that the San Francisco Bay Area in California is in a “superstar” league of its own because it scored high in all areas. That’s largely because the Bay Area relies on investment from both public and private efforts and is home to the top universities for AI research, including Stanford and University of California-Berkeley, as well as tech giants like Facebook and Google.
Beyond that, 13 metro areas showed “above-average involvement” in AI activities and were placed into an “early adopter” category. The regions, Muro said, possess strong research institutions. But they’ve also been successful in developing and deploying commercial applications from that research, he said. Those communities also benefit from hosting leaders like Amazon, Oracle and IBM.