AI Policy – Russia

In January 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a list of instructions following the meeting of the supervisory board of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, which included the instruction to the Russian government to create a national AI strategy.

Throughout 2018, several initiatives helped paved the way toward a national strategy. For example, in March 2018, The Russian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education and Science, and Academy of Sciences held a conference on AI problems and solutions, and later released a 10-point plan for AI development in Russia. The plan includes forming an AI and big data consortium across educational and industrial organizations; developing a fund to help provide expertise on automated systems; increasing state support of AI training and education; building an AI lab at a top technology university; establishing a national AI R&D center; monitoring technical and social trends in AI; organizing AI wargames; discussing AI proposals at domestic military forums; and holding an annual AI conference.

Russia has previously advocated for military uses of AI and been dismissive of ongoing deliberations at the United Nations to prohibit lethal autonomous weapon systems.

Russian President Vladimir Putin famously said during a speech to students in Moscow in September 2017, “Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind. There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Putin added it would be better to prevent a monopoly in the field, and said that if Russia becomes the leader in the development of AI, “we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology.”

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