Grand strategy games are moved by the in-game economy, and if the AI is incapable of creating a strong economy to match the players, the immersion is just lost.
First of all, developers want the AI to be better in the mid and, especially, late-game. With the current plans, the requested income is static. Meaning, once it reaches a monthly income of +500 it will not try to increase it further. That’s good for a big chunk into the mid-game, but it’s not good enough to compete with a player in the late game. So, the idea is to have the economic plans scale to infinity. Once they reach +500, they should increase their targets.
The AI also should be able to specialize planets. Making Generator Worlds, Industry Worlds, Forge Worlds, Mining Worlds, and the like. The idea is that the AI starts out like a player, building whatever it needs when colonizing new planets. But as soon as it settles down a bit it will look to rearrange districts amongst its planets to optimize the output of each planet. We already made some initial tests around that and they look highly promising.
A short disclaimer here, though, is that things may always change, not work out as intended, or prove more difficult than anticipated. So don’t take these points as guaranteed. It’s these areas that Paradox are looking into and that are, most likely, going to be improved.