Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

The evolutionary dynamics of the artificial intelligence ecosystem


Strategy science


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Jacobides M G;Brusoni S;Candelon F

Publication Year



We analyze the sectoral and national systems of firms and institutions that collectively engage in artificial intelligence (AI). Moving beyond the analysis of AI as a general-purpose technology or its particular areas of application, we draw on the evolutionary analysis of sectoral systems and ask, “Who does what?” in AI. We provide a granular view of the complex interdependency patterns that connect developers, manufacturers, and users of AI. We distinguish between AI enablement, AI production, and AI consumption and analyze the emerging patterns of cospecialization between firms and communities. We find that AI provision is characterized by the dominance of a small number of Big Tech firms, whose downstream use of AI (e.g., search, payments, social media) has underpinned much of the recent progress in AI and who also provide the necessary upstream computing power provision (Cloud and Edge). These firms dominate top academic institutions in AI research, further strengthening their position. We find that AI is adopted by and benefits the small percentage of firms that can both digitize and access high-quality data. We consider how the AI sector has evolved differently in the three key geographies—China, the United States, and the European Union—and note that a handful of firms are building global AI ecosystems. Our contribution is to showcase the evolution of evolutionary thinking with AI as a case study: we show the shift from national/sectoral systems to triple-helix/innovation ecosystems and digital platforms. We conclude with the implications of such a broad evolutionary account for theory and practice.

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.