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12 per cent of elite AI researchers come from India but almost none work here, says data

A think tank of Chicago's Paulson Institute has collected data on where top talent in Artificial Intelligence comes from and where it goes.

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New Delhi: A digital project titled The Global AI Talent Tracker by MacroPolo — an in-house think tank of the Paulson Institute in Chicago — has collected data on the top talent on Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically where it comes from and where it goes. It has revealed that 12 per cent of “elite” AI researchers received their undergraduate education in India (more than any country other than the US), but almost none of them work here.

Focusing on what many consider the top AI conference — Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) — which saw a “record-breaking 15,920 researchers submit 6,614 papers, with a paper acceptance rate of 21.6 per cent” in its December 2019 conference, MacroPolo created a data set of all the researchers whose papers got accepted.

One of the key takeaways from it is the United States’ lead over every other country in top-level AI research with “with nearly 60 per cent of top-tier researchers working for American universities and companies”. What’s interesting is how strongly it attracts international talent, with more than two-thirds of its researchers having completed their undergraduate in other countries.

With 29 per cent of the researchers receiving their education in China, the country is the top source of AI talent. However, 56 per cent of them go on to “study, work, and live in the United States.”

The third key takeaway from the data sets collected is that 53 per cent of the top AI researchers are “immigrants or foreign nationals currently working in a different country from where they received their undergraduate degrees.”

The ‘Spin-Off Questions’ section includes data where India comes into focus. Of all the AI researchers in the US, 11 per cent come from India and it is succeeded only by China at 27 per cent. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of the most elite — top 0.5 per cent — AI researchers receive their undergraduate degrees in India, but a negligible percentage actually work, here, with the United States being home to 65 per cent of them.

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