The world is engaged in a competition for leadership in the array of technologies and applications often grouped under the umbrella of artificial intelligence. This competition has often been compared to the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, but the comparison is misleading on many fronts. Artificial intelligence is not one technology but many, and those technologies may be used in a wide variety of classifying, optimizing, and predictive applications, many and probably most not military in nature. Unlike the US Manhattan Project and the Soviet Union’s equally secretive early nuclear program, AI research is done in both the private and public sectors; information about private sector research is regularly shared among participants in the field and, therefore, among countries. Progress is rapid, and knowledge about that progress is seldom contained to one country alone. This introduction to the May/June issue is free-access.
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