Canada refuses visas to African AI researchers

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For the second year in a row, Canada has refused visas to dozens of researchers - most of them from Africa - who were hoping to attend an artificial intelligence (AI) conference in Vancouver. The hassles have caused at least one other AI conference to choose a different country for their next event. The Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NeurIPS), which brings together thousands of experts and researchers from all over the world, will be held in Vancouver next month. Last week, NeurIPS began hearing that several attendees had had their visas denied. It was the second year in a row the conference has had visa troubles.


Canada refuses visas to African AI researchers

#artificialintelligence

For the second year in a row, Canada has refused visas to dozens of researchers - most of them from Africa - who were hoping to attend an artificial intelligence (AI) conference in Vancouver. The hassles have caused at least one other AI conference to choose a different country for their next event. The Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NeurIPS), which brings together thousands of experts and researchers from all over the world, will be held in Vancouver next month. Last week, NeurIPS began hearing that several attendees had had their visas denied. It was the second year in a row the conference has had visa troubles.


Visa Issues Cast Shadow on Canada's Moment in the AI Spotlight

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A number of researchers due to attend a prestigious conference on artificial intelligence in Canada next week have been unable to obtain visas in time, leading some executives to question the government's stated goal of becoming a world-leading destination for academics and companies developing the technology. It's unclear how many people have been affected by visa issues, but at least a dozen researchers circulated their stories on social media about having visas denied or applications held up. Timnit Gebru, a Google AI researcher and a founder of the group Black in AI that's holding a workshop at the event, said on Twitter that almost half of the 60-some academics it had asked to attend the workshop had visa applications turned down. "It's Africans living everywhere that are getting denied," she said. Several prominent AI researchers complained of the situation on Twitter in the hopes of getting the Canadian government to take action.


TTH - Tech update on Mobiles, AI, Laptops, Gadgets, Robotics, UAV & More

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Canadian immigration officials deny travel visas to a large number of AI researchers and research students scheduled to attend the NeurIPS and Black in AI workshop, event organizers said. Among the people who have been denied entry is Tẹjúmádé Àfọ njá, co-organizer of the NeurIPS Machine Learning workshop for the developing world. NeurIP Information Processing Systems (NeurIPs) is the world's largest annual international AI conference, according to the AI Index 2018 report. The conference is scheduled to be held from December 8 to 14 in Vancouver, Canada. On Tuesday, Black in AI co-founder and Google AI researcher Timnit Gebru said that 15 of the 44 attendees who planned to join the workshop on December 9 were denied entry.


Canada Welcomes AI--But Not All 'Black in AI' Workshop Guests

WIRED

On Thursday in Montreal, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau boasted about his country's leading position in artificial intelligence and openness to international collaboration. A few miles away, the world's largest AI conference proceeded without scores of researchers denied visas by Trudeau's government. All week, Montreal has played host to 8,000 people attending the NeurIPS conference, which ends Saturday. But well over 100 researchers with tickets to attend the event or its associated workshops, including many who planned to present work, are absent due to visa denials or delays. AI researchers say the visa problems undermine efforts to make their field more inclusive, and less likely to produce technology that discriminates or disadvantages people who aren't white or Western.