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Artificial Intelligence in Russia Issue 6, July 17, 2020

The Russia Studies Program
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The Artificial Intelligence in Russia newsletter features a summary of recent Russian-language reports on the Russian AI and autonomy ecosystem, divided into the following sections:

  • Governance and Legal Developments
  • Military and Security Developments
  • Corporate and Market Developments
  • Education and Training Developments
  • Events and Conferences
  • Spotlight: The Skolkovo Ecosystem

The following preview shows the first item in this issue:

1. Putin pushes AI federal project, private sector concerned with government role

RIA Novosti reported on July 3 that the Russian business community was opposed to a proposed consolidation of the AI federal project with the Digital Technologies federal project. The opposition was motivated by overall cuts in federal spending on national projects: experts in the industry worry that the consolidation could lead to cuts in funding for the federal AI project. The government developed the federal project in October 2019 in accordance with the national strategy for the development of AI. According to reports, the project it aims to ensure that AI contributes to the growth of welfare and quality of life of Russians; to ensure national security and law and order; and to ensure that the Russian economy achieves a sustainable level of competitiveness. The government is planning to allocate over 89 billion rubles ($1,250 million) of budget funds to implement over 40 specific AI-related tasks by 2024, notes RIA Novosti.

On July 6, TASS and other news agencies reported that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to “take final measures” to approve the AI federal project and its funding, which includes funding from the “Digital Economy” national program. This was one of the outcomes of a June 10 meeting between Putin and ICT industry representatives, discussed in issue 4 of AI in Russia.

CNA Commentary: This large investment underscores the importance placed on AI development in government agencies tasked with designing and implementing specific steps outlined in the AI strategy. Russia’s high-tech development is a personal issue for Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who support the rapid digitization of the Russian economy. However, there is pushback, including within the industry, to combining the AI federal project with the Digital Technologies federal project out of concern that federal funding could be misappropriated from AI to other information and communication technology ICT. This pushback is rooted in cynicism in Russia, especially in its budding private sector, towards the overwhelming government role in fostering innovation in the high-tech sector.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited. 7/17/2020

Details

  • Pages: 26
  • Document Number: DOP-2020-U-027627-Final2
  • Publication Date: 7/17/2020
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