Artificial Intelligence has leapt to the forefront of global discourse, garnering increased attention from practitioners, industry leaders, policymakers, and the general public. The diversity of opinions and debates gathered from news articles this year illustrates just how broadly AI is being investigated, studied, and applied. However, the field of AI is still evolving rapidly and even experts have a hard time understanding and tracking progress across the field.

Without the relevant data for reasoning about the state of AI technology, we are essentially “flying blind” in our conversations and decision-making related to AI.

Created and launched as a project of the One Hundred Year Study on AI at Stanford University (AI100), the AI Index is an open, not-for-profit project to track activity and progress in AI. It aims to facilitate an informed conversation about AI that is grounded in data. This is the inaugural annual report of the AI Index, and in this report we look at activity and progress in Artificial Intelligence through a range of perspectives. We aggregate data that exists freely on the web, contribute original data, and extract new metrics from combinations of data series.

All of the data used to generate this report will be openly available on the AI Index website at aiindex.org. Providing data, however, is just the beginning. To become truly useful, the AI Index needs support from a larger community. Ultimately, this report is a call for participation. You have the ability to provide data, analyze collected data, and make a wish list of what data you think needs to be tracked. Whether you have answers or questions to provide, we hope this report inspires you to reach out to the AI Index and become part of the effort to ground the conversation about AI.