Some experts believe that China and Europe are poised to get ahead of the United States, or at least catch up to it, in the development of cutting-edge uses for artificial intelligence. Gil Press suggests that a third country, Israel, is emerging as one of the most important innovators in this sphere:
Israeli artificial-intelligence start-ups (using technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural-language processing, robotics, and speech recognition) have raised close to $2 billion in 2017, an increase of 70 percent over 2016, and have already raised $1.5 billion this year. An average of 140 start-ups have been created annually over the last five years and there are now over 950 active Israeli start-ups utilizing or developing AI technologies. . . . And there are notable success stories, . . . such as Intel’s $15.3-billion acquisition of Mobileye, [an Israeli company that makes the computer-vision technology used in some cars to warn of impending collisions], and Salesforce’s more than $800-million acquisition of Datorama, [which makes software that analyzes marketing data]. . . .
Shuly Galili, [an Israeli investor, observes that] “most Israeli entrepreneurs [honed their technological skills during their military service], which means that on average they have more hands-on experience working with artificial intelligence, image processing, data science, etc., than entrepreneurs from other countries.” . . .
Over 70 percent of Israeli artificial-intelligence startups are focused on business-to-business applications. The Israeli experience . . . in addressing infrastructure- and heavy-industry-related challenges may provide another competitive advantage [over other countries]. . . . “We’ve made it our mission to invest in start-ups tackling unsexy problems with really sexy technology,” says Galili. . . . The proven success and exciting potential embedded in the Israeli artificial-intelligence landscape have attracted leading industrial, consumer, and tech companies that have established major research-and-development centers in Israel in recent years.