Thailand was ranked 56 out of 194 countries in the Government AI Readiness Index 2019 while Singapore sat top of the chart, according to UK-based consultancy Oxford Insights.
Thailand was given a 5.458 rating out of 10, one spot above Indonesia at 57, which gained a score of 5.42.
Malaysia was ranked 22nd with a score of 7.108, while the Philippines was 50 with a score of 5.704.
Singapore topped the list with a score of 9.186, followed by the UK, Germany, the US, Finland, Sweden, Canada, France, Denmark and Japan.
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It was only the second time Oxford Insights conducted the study. The first study in 2017 involved only 35 advanced countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The 2017 study ranked the UK at the top, followed by the US, Canada and Korea.
According to Oxford Insights, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are forecast to add US$15 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
The index, produced with the support of the International Development Research Centre, comprises 11 input metrics, grouped under four high-level clusters — governance, infrastructure and data, skills and education as well as government and public services.
The data is derived from a variety of resources ranging from AI strategies to databases such as the number of registered AI startups on Crunchbase, to indices such as the UN E-Government Development Index.
The study indicated that China surprisingly was ranked in the low position of 20th, even though central and local governments are implementing AI in public service delivery. However, it predicted that China, which was in fifth place in Asia-Pacific, is likely to perform better in next year’s ranking.
The best performing region, on average, is North America, while the worst performing regions are Africa and Asia-Pacific.
The index highlights the current inequality in AI readiness between global governments, with higher income countries predictably faring better in the rankings than middle and lower income countries.
The study suggests policymakers should act to ensure that global inequalities are not further entrenched or exacerbated by AI.
Thanachart Numnonda, executive director of IMC Institute, a Bangkok-based emerging tech training and research organisation, said although the Thai government aims to make use of AI and give priority to AI, it still has no clear strategies at the national level.
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“We may have to consider AI strategies in tourism and agriculture, which could be a key contribution to our economy,” said Mr Thanachart.
Thailand also lacks talent in AI technology, he said, adding international talent could then be brought in to move the technology forward in the country.
Mr Thanachart said it takes time to create new talent and programming code must be added to high school curriculum and promote skills among youth. The country still lacks proper R&D in AI technology for startups and business operations.