Canada Government


Even Alphabet is having trouble reinventing smart cities

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An ambitious smart-city project spearheaded by Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs has run into local resistance, causing delays. The backstory: Waterfront Toronto, a development agency founded by the Canadian government, partnered with the Google sister company in October 2017 to create a futuristic neighborhood on the Toronto waterfront. Sidewalk Labs plans to fill the 12-acre plot with driverless shuttle buses, garbage-toting robots, and other gadgets to show how emerging technologies can improve city life. The problem: Sidewalk Labs' connection to Google and vague descriptions of its business model alarmed privacy advocates and urban planners from the start. Local pushback has increased since, causing a key supporter to resign from the project and delaying the release of its final development plan to spring 2019.


Montreal has reinvented itself as the world's AI startup powerhouse

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Montreal is one of the world's leading centres for artificial intelligence research – and that reputation is now having a big impact on its startup community. According to PwC Canada, the city raised more venture capital money than any other in the country in 2017, with US$800 million (£616m) invested across 63 major deals. That's still small fry compared to rival startup cities in the US and across Europe, but Montreal is growing fast. Attracted by its reputation for ground breaking AI research, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have invested heavily in the city's academic and entrepreneurial communities in recent years. The Canadian government has also pledged more than $200 million (£118m) of funding to further boost Montreal's AI research.


Deep Learning Summit Coming to Toronto in October

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The Deep Learning Summit is returning to Toronto from October 25 – 26, 2018 and will cover the latest advancements in deep learning technology. Global leaders in the field will address how industry leaders and start-ups are applying deep learning techniques across industry and society. The first ever AI for Government Summit, another event stream, will provide a unique opportunity to interact with government bodies, policymakers, strategists and directors of innovation to explore the use of machine learning to increase efficiency, reduce costs and meet the high demands of the public sector. What's more, the Canadian Government have committed over $125 million to AI developments. Headline partners include Accenture, Qualcomm, Graphcore AI and CBC/Radio Canada who will all be sharing their expertise in the field, participating in workshops, discussions, presentations, demonstrations and exhibitions.


Could digital secretary 'Amelia' be the future face of Government of Canada's AI services?

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A New York City-based firm that develops a "digital colleague" named Amelia is the first to state interest in providing artificial intelligence services to the Government of Canada. A tender notice posted by Public Works and Government Services Canada on Saturday morning is the most recent step taken by the government towards acquiring AI services. Its purpose is to create a pre-qualified list of suppliers that will deliver AI services towards several key areas where the government believes it has the most to gain from the technology. IPsoft Canada is the first to be listed as an interested supplier. Its Amelia AI system that promises to handle customer service requests without the need for human intervention.


Strengthening Canada's leadership in AI-driven robotics to support jobs - Canada.ca

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Longueuil, Quebec, October 15, 2018 --The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is positioning Canada's space community to maintain its global leadership in space robotics. Accordingly, the CSA announced today that it is investing $1.6 million in two concepts for lunar rovers that would use artificial intelligence to make their own decisions. Canadian businesses MDA, a Maxar company, and Canadensys Aerospace Corporation have each been awarded a contract worth $800 000 to develop an innovative concept for the CSA. The CSA made the announcement at the start of a three-day event to promote Canadian space capabilities to major space companies, including Blue Origin, Airbus Defense and Space and Moon Express. As part of ongoing discussions with the international space community to prepare options for Canada's participation in the next chapter of space exploration, the CSA recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Moon Express, a US-based company.


Ottawa's use of AI for immigration a 'high-risk laboratory': report

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The Canadian government's proposed use of artificial intelligence to assess refugee claims and immigration applications could jeopardize applicants' human rights, says a group of privacy experts. The warnings are raised in a new report from the Citizen Lab, a group of civic-minded technological and privacy policy researchers at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law's International Human Rights Program. The federal government is already taking steps to make use of artificial intelligence. In May, The Globe and Mail reported that Justice Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) were piloting an artificial-intelligence program to assist with preremoval risk assessments and immigration applications on humanitarian grounds. The report being released Wednesday cautions that experimenting with these technologies in the immigration and refugee system amounts to a "high-risk laboratory," as many of these applications come from some of the world's most vulnerable people, including those fleeing persecution and war zones.


CANADA MAKING STRIDES TO BECOME GLOBAL LEADER IN AI

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A new KPMG report looking at global FinTech activity in Q4 2017 found that AI is becoming a "pivotal technology" for FinTech innovation in Canada and the US. "Canada continues to make strides to become a global player in AI, driven by Canadian government support and the presence of strong AI innovators at several Canadian universities," the report reads. The report says that while Canada lags in FinTech adoption compared to the US, its adoption rate is still accelerating rapidly. US investors are also increasingly paying more attention to Canada because of Canada's stable economy and low exchange rate. The report also noted the strong government support for FinTech in Canada, noting that blockchain-focused companies were the main benefactors of regulatory bodies' sandbox initiatives to work with startups.


Keeping ethics in artificial intelligence

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As artificial intelligence (AI) develops and its uses continue to grow, there's still the discussion to be had around how to use AI in a trustworthy and ethical way. Businesses need to lead the process, creating an honest, global conversation about the benefits of AI not only for the industry but also governments and society enlarge, finds a Sage Group report on building a competitive yet ethical AI economy. "The next challenge will be to move the global conversation away from AI as a threat, or replacement for humans, and towards encouraging businesses to approach AI as a complement to human ingenuity," states the report. According to the study that Sage conducted with a group of international business executives and United Kingdom government officials, the key is for industry leaders, businesses and C-suite executives to define ethical principles that will guide AI development. This discussion comes at a time when the global AI market is hitting its stride, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reports industries are aggressively investing in AI and cognitive systems and that worldwide spending on these systems will increase by 54 per cent from 2017, reaching $19.1 billion this year.


How Toronto Became a Global Powerhouse for Artificial Intelligence Startups and Giants

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While speaking at Shopify's annual conference in Toronto a few weeks ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got in some trouble for a few choice words. Calling for Canada to have "a little more swagger" when promoting its homegrown innovations on the global stage. The rival Conservative Party jumped on his comments, openly criticizing him. In response, Shopify's CEO penned an op-ed in The Globe and Mail defending Trudeau's remarks. While this might sound like mild drama, the sentiment comes at a time when global giants are already noticing Canada's rapid growth within certain high-tech sectors, and specifically those related to artificial intelligence.


The brilliant future of AI in Canada

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This post outlines the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) opportunity for Microsoft partners in Canada. In March of 2017, the Canadian government announced a $125 million investment in artificial intelligence. The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy (what a name!) strives to position Canada as a world leader in AI. These dollars will help attract and retain top academic talent and promote collaboration amongst AI teams. "Technology is changing fast, and with it comes opportunity.