/Colorado Region Takes Early Lead in Artificial Intelligence (via Qpute.com)
Colorado Region Takes Early Lead in Artificial Intelligence

Colorado Region Takes Early Lead in Artificial Intelligence (via Qpute.com)

(TNS) — From Netflix movie recommendations to supercomputers that review medical scans looking for cancer, innovations in artificial intelligence promise to create wealth and drive growth for the regions able to establish early on a concentration of businesses in that sector.

While hardly a hub yet, Colorado’s northern Front Range is an early contender when it comes to participating in the emerging field, in particular Boulder, according to a study released Wednesday by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

“The Bay Area dominates but there are some surprising inland stars” including Boulder, said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brooking who co-authored the report on the geography of AI.

Wave after wave of technological innovation has followed a “winner-take-all” approach, with northern California winning most of the time. Muro said it is still not clear if AI will also follow that pattern of tech concentration or become more widespread, an outcome the federal government favors.

“There’s evidence for both scenarios, which may be of interest. This gets into questions about the geography of research in the U.S. and whether the federal government can make a difference in patterns,” he said.

The Bay Area remains the “superstar” region when it comes to artificial intelligence and related fields. But the study found 13 “early adopter” regions that could offer alternative hubs, including Boulder, Boston and Austin, Texas. It also lists Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins in a long list of “potential adoption centers.”

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado and several federal labs, had $1,067 in AI research and development dollars per worker, 123.6 AI-related patents per 1 million workers and 416 AI companies per 1 million workers. Boulder was also ahead of the Bay Area when it came to federal AI contracts on a per capita basis, and counts Oracle, Amazon, Soundhound and Apple among its AI innovators.

Fort Collins, another university city, also had a strong showing when it came to federal AI contracts, but lagged behind Boulder on other measures of AI concentration. Denver was behind both Boulder and Fort Collins, with $89 in AI R&D spending per worker, 11 patents per 1 million workers and 78 AI companies per 1 million workers.

Similar to quantum computing, an area where the northern Front Range is also pushing to become a leader, artificial intelligence remains an emerging field with undetermined potential. In 2019, AI job postings accounted for less than 10% of the 2 million IT postings and under 1% of all job postings, according to counts from Burning Glass Technologies that Brookings reviewed.

And AI innovations have yet to find widespread adoption, with only 3% of U.S. firms reporting they were using artificial-intelligence applications.

“The upshot for all this data is that the excitement around AI is justified, but its adoption is still in its nascent stages,” the report said.

© 2021 The Denver Post. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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