ASI and World Bank Launch World AI & Data Challenge

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), in cooperation with the World Bank, is glad to announce the launch of the first international competition World AI & Data Challenge. The competition is aimed at solving global socio-economic problems with the help of Big Data (BD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and putting the solutions into practice.

The competition will consist of three stages. The first one (February-April 2020) federal authorities, regions, communities, data owners, and countries will present the tasks to be solved and the necessary data sets (competition of tasks). As a next step (May-September 2020), teams of specialists will analyze this data and offer solutions (competition of solutions). Finally (September 2020 – February 2021), the most successful solutions will be implemented in practice (competition of implementations).

ASI and its partners join their efforts to solve global problems related to the causes of poverty, identifying future competencies, and driving the growth of human well-being. They are also in a continuous search for other tasks of social importance that can be solved based on Big Data and AI technologies.

"The use of AI and Big Data technologies in the coming years will lead to the breakthrough development of various sectors of the economy and introduce new approaches to public administration. The World AI & Data Challenge will make it possible for regions, communities and state governments to engage the best Russian and international IT specialists and data analysts in solving urgent and complex problems, to create best international practices of implementing digital open-source solutions. That, in turn, will propel the culture of skilled interaction with data and data-based management" – ASI Director-General Svetlana Chupsheva.

The World AI & Data Challenge is a worldwide version of the "Competition of Digital Solutions for Regions," that involved 43 Russian regions and more than 1000 data analysts from across the country in 2019. As a result, nine regions that implemented ten advanced digital solutions reached the finals.

"The engagement of international experts, elaboration of the world's best practices and building long-term cooperation between the Russian and international communities – this is what makes the new project stand out against the Competition 2019. At the same time, we will continue to focus on the development of Russian regional teams, representatives of state authorities, in terms of acquiring data management skills", added Vera Adaeva, director of the ASI Digital Development Center.

One of the winning solutions of the Competition 2019 allowed to assess the level and structure of poverty in the region, identify citizens at risk, and adjust the efforts of various authorities to help the poor. Another one – the analysis of the digital footprint of a tourist – provided tools that made targeted advertising campaigns more accurate and the organization of events more convenient and straightforward. Among other digital solutions implemented in Russia last year, there was also an automated algorithm used to moderate cultural events announcements. But by far, the most talked-about was a solution that helped to analyze the poverty trends – it aroused great interest from the international community. The solution to analyze the poverty profile aroused great interest from the international community.

"Today, data analytics and artificial intelligence can make a significant contribution to solving the most complex socio-economic problems in the world. We are pleased to support the project, the goals of which resonate with the mission of the World Bank – ending poverty and increasing prosperity for the general population. Together we will pay careful attention to the data policy, ethical and regulatory issues needed to ensure AI is both effective and trustworthy", – World Bank Country Director and Resident Representative in the Russian Federation Renaud Seligmann.

The project also aroused interest among Singaporean companies. The latest survey conducted by leading IT market research and advisory firm IDC puts Singapore on the 3rd place in Asia/Pacific region in terms of AI adoption, with 9.9% of local organizations using AI technologies. Another study by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific suggests that by 2021 AI will double the pace of innovation and productivity gains in Singapore. Most people in Singapore believe that AI will either help them improve existing jobs or reduce the number of repetitive tasks.

"Thanks to artificial intelligence and data analytics, we can find new approaches to solving the most complex problems. The World AI and Data Challenge is an excellent initiative of the Russian Federation to tap expertise from across the globe to help address some of the most critical challenges of development. Today, the world is awash with data and information. AI and analytics can help us make sense of this rapidly expanding universe of data and prepare us for the future.

I look forward to new and innovative ideas emerging from the challenge. These can provide us with a deeper understanding of the foundational shifts taking place around us and show us new ways of responding to issues like poverty, human well-being and the future of work. And we, as business representatives, can both contribute and benefit from the fulfillment of these tasks" – Randeep Sudan, founder of Multiverz.

Today, ASI, together with partners and communities, are already detailing the following five challenges to solve:

  • Identification of poverty causes and ending poverty (with the World Bank).
  • A qualitative change in the conditions for the growth of human well-being (development of the mechanism for calculating the "happiness index") (with the World Bank).
  • Recognition of texts written in Braille and their translation into Russian and English (with the All-Russian Society of the Blind).
  • Identification of future competencies (with the National University of Singapore Center for E-Government Leadership, Multiverz and RecruiterPal).
  • Creation of an algorithm for automatic verification of printed texts (with the Russian Totalny Dictant Foundation).

State and regional authorities, communities and other data owners can take part in the World AI & Data Challenge project and submit a task as part of the first stage by the end of March 2020.

Press Contacts: Valeria Khatyan, +7 (903) 118-25-58,