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AI and Autonomy in Russia Issue 23, October 8, 2021

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
  • International Collaboration
  • Spotlight: Sarma Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The following preview shows the first item in this issue:

1. Russian government creates new center for AI federal project implementation

In July 2021, Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree creating an AI Analytical Center, as part of a larger Russian Federation government analytical center, focused on the implementation of Russia’s AI Strategy and the monitoring of the implementation of the AI federal project. The center will help with the execution of competitions for government subsidies and the development of norms, and focus on AI international cooperation. According to reports, “By the end of 2021, the center will develop an index of readiness of industries toward AI implementation, launch a national portal in the AI sphere, and assess the satisfaction of Russian citizens interested in the development of AI technologies with the work so far.” 

Among its first projects, the center organized a roundtable focused on the AI ethics code at the Russian Federation Council (part of Russia’s bicameral legislature), in September. The code, which is of an advisory nature, is currently under development in the Russian government AI analytical center in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development. The ethics code, set to be released at a public event on October 12, will develop “common principles and standards of behavior for various participants in the functioning of AI systems in Russia.”

2. Russian PM prioritizes AI as government plans subsidies for business and academics 

In his September 1 remarks associated with the first day of school (Knowledge Day) in Russia, Prime Minister Mishustin discussed AI as the “most important direction of Russian evelopment.” He asserted the following:

The artificial intelligence system learns by itself, but the data it contains limits its learning. Today, the transition to the possibilities of applying the laws of physics using artificial intelligence algorithms, expanding the data on which artificial intelligence can learn, will be the most important catalyst for new solutions.... In the future, artificial intelligence may even replace the routine processes associated with checking homework, it is a tool that can be used everywhere.

In the meantime, the Russian government has been conducting competitive selections of businesses, educational establishments, and scientific institutions focused on furthering AI development in Russia as part of the AI federal project. In May, it approved rules for private sector subsidies for the incorporation of AI technologies. In a competitive program that will exist until 2024, the government could distribute over 5 billion rubles ($70 million) for projects in computer vision, natural language processing (NLP) speech recognition and synthesis, decision-making support, future AI methods (including quantum machine learning), and other topics. Additional subsidies were announced for developers of relevant software and hardware for AI tech. Also in May, the government announced subsidies for the creation of 10 new bachelors degree and 40 new masters degree programs focused on AI. In July, rules for yet additional subsidies were outlined for academic and scientific institutions focused on technological R&D and educational programs in the AI sphere. The competition for 6 spots, which concluded on August 31, attracted 28 proposals from universities and 8 from scientific organizations. The total amount of funding is over 7 billion rubles ($96 million), most of which is from the government budget, and the focus is on medicine, urban infrastructure, agriculture and food production, environmental monitoring, advanced robotics, and industrial automation, among a dozen priority sectors.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.

Details

  • Pages: 24
  • Document Number: DOP-2021-U-030944-Final
  • Publication Date: 10/8/2021