Synthetic intelligence’s integration into on a regular basis life has stirred up doubts and unsettling questions for a lot of about humanity’s path ahead. However in Anguilla, a tiny Caribbean island to the east of Puerto Rico, the A.I. increase has made the nation a fortune.

The British territory collects a payment from each registration for web addresses that finish in “.ai,” which occurs to be the area identify assigned to the island, like “.fr” for France and “.jp” for Japan. With firms wanting web addresses that talk they’re on the forefront of the A.I. increase — like Elon Musk’s X.ai web site for his synthetic intelligence firm — Anguilla has lately acquired a huge influx in requests for domain names.

For every area registration, Anguilla’s authorities will get anyplace from $140 to 1000’s of {dollars} from web site names bought at auctions, in accordance authorities knowledge. Final yr, Anguilla’s authorities made about $32 million from these charges. That amounted to greater than 10 % of gross home product for the territory of virtually 16,000 folks and 35 sq. miles.

“Some folks name it a windfall,” Anguilla’s premier, Ellis Webster, mentioned. “We simply name it God smiling down on us.”

Mr. Webster mentioned the federal government used the cash to supply free well being look after residents 70 and older, and it has dedicated thousands and thousands of {dollars} to complete constructing a college and a vocational coaching heart. The federal government has additionally allotted funds to enhance its airport; doubled its funds for sports activities actions, occasions and amenities; and elevated the funds for residents looking for medical therapy abroad, he mentioned.

The island, which depends closely on tourism, had been arduous hit by the pandemic’s restrictions on journey and a devastating hurricane in 2017. The .ai area revenue was the increase the nation wanted.

“We by no means thought that it will have this potential,” Mr. Webster mentioned.

Anguilla’s management of .ai dates again to the early days of the web, when nations and territories had been assigned their slice of our on-line world. Anguilla acquired .ai, and its authorities, whose personal website is www.gov.ai., didn’t make a lot of it till the domains began bringing in thousands and thousands. Officers are unsure how lengthy the boon will final, however they predicted 2024 would usher in related revenue as final yr from domains.

It’s not the primary bonanza to make an enormous distinction to a grateful area proprietor. Tuvalu, a string of islands northwest of Australia, sold the rights to its suffix, “.television,” to a Canadian entrepreneur for $50 million, and used the cash to place electrical energy on the outer islands, create scholarships and finance the method to affix the United Nations.

The South Pacific island of Niue, however, gave an American businessman the rights to its “.nu” suffix within the Nineties in alternate for connecting it to the web. The island later claimed to have been cheated out of money that got here by the sale of the area identify to 1000’s of Scandinavians attracted by the suffix “nu,” which implies “now” in Swedish, Danish and Dutch.

However Anguilla realized early sufficient that it couldn’t let this surprising jackpot slip away.

“It’s simply fortunate for us,” Mr. Webster mentioned.

Brian Hoerst contributed reporting.



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