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Using Data and AI to Predict Disease Outbreaks - Canadian Government Executive

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AI is seen as one of the first lines of defence in a pandemic. Given the current situation with COVID-19, hospitals and healthcare facilities are using AI to help screen and triage patients and identify those most likely to develop severe symptoms. The use of data and analytics is also helpful to track and contain diseases. As the Global Government Practice lead, Steve Bennett is helping governments around the world put their data to work for the citizens they serve. In his current role, he drives strategic industry positioning and messaging in global government markets.


The World Has a Plan to Rein in AI--but the US Doesn't Like It

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In December 2018, Canada and France announced plans for a new international body to study and steer the effects of artificial intelligence on the world's people and economies. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said the International Panel on Artificial Intelligence would be established by the Group of Seven leading western economies and play a role in "addressing some of the ethical concerns we will face in this area." It was to be modeled on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which helped establish consensus on the world's climate crisis and recommends possible responses. Just over a year later, the IPAI has been renamed the Global Partnership on AI, but it still hasn't quite gotten off the ground. Six of the G7 are on board--with the United States the lone holdout.


The Ethical Dimension of Artificial Intelligence

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However, the frequency in which the Canadian government employs AI is worrying for some. Fears of governments using AI to infringe on private freedoms are very real, as some countries, such as China, have begun to use facial recognition software for police surveillance. Furthermore, people are rapidly losing confidence in social media platforms and Internet security, often citing the absence of human intervention in the decisions that algorithms make as the cause. Furthermore, 54% of North Americans express concern for their online privacy, and the non-consensual use of personal data by social media companies and federal governments do little to ease these fears. While more Canadians are more concerned about their online security due to threats posed by internet companies, at least 59% fear for their personal information being used by their own government.


5G and AI – Getting Smart About 5G and AI in Canada

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Canada has been investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for longer than most of the industrialized world. Dr. Geoff Hinton of Google helped ignite the field of graphics processing unit (GPU) deep learning at the University of Toronto. Then he became chief scientific advisor to the Vector Institute, which in collaboration with the University, aims to produce the largest number of deep learning AI graduates and innovators globally. It's the home of computer scientist Yoshua Bengio, who is another pioneer of AI technology. Hundreds of AI researchers and doctoral students are concentrated at McGill University and the University of Montreal.


France and Canada move forward with plans for global AI expert council

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How will humanity manage the growth of artificial intelligence systems? To answer that, French and Canadian officials are drafting a blueprint for an expert council that they hope could be a prototype for global cooperation on AI policy. The Global Partnership for AI (GPAI), advanced over the past year by French president Emmanuel Macron and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, has started to take shape in a series of transatlantic negotiations in the past few months. While many details have yet to be resolved, negotiators hope for a general understanding by the end of this year, according to Malik Ghallab, director emeritus of a French state robotics lab in Toulouse, who is active in the planning process. The idea is to create a standing forum – involving government, industry and academia – to monitor and debate the policy implications of AI globally.


Artificial Intelligence: Risk, reward and reality

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The Canadian government is taking the lead in setting governance standards in the application of AI, prescribing a risk-based framework that can be a model for creating an AI-powered organization. The Directive on Automated Decision-Making classifies AI decisions based on the potential impact of their outcomes as well as on the sustainability of ecosystems. The directive makes it clear that AI is not a one-size fits all problem. If an automated decision is going to directly affect the rights, health and economic interests of individuals, communities and entities, the AI application needs to be managed by rules that match the potential harm it could cause. In many cases, these rules call for the intervention and review of the decision by humans to ensure appropriate oversight.


Canadian, Quebec governments pledge $15 million to create AI centre in Montréal BetaKit

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The federal and Quebec governments have announced the creation of a Montréal-based international centre of expertise for the advancement of artificial intelligence as part of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), which was recently discussed at the G7 Leaders' Summit. "Montréal was ideally suited to host this centre of expertise." The federal government will invest up to $10 million over five years to support the activities of the centre once it commences operations. This commitment is in addition to a $5 million grant previously committed by Quebec, and awarded to Montréal International, to create or attract an international AI organization, bringing total government investment to $15 million over five years. "The Montréal ecosystem is recognized as a leader in AI," said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science, and economic development.


Element AI announces $200 million CAD Series B round BetaKit

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Element AI has closed a much-anticipated venture round, raising a $200 million CAD ($151.4 million USD) Series B from the Government of Quebec, pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and McKinsey & Company, among others. The $200 million in funding is one of the largest venture capital rounds in Canadian history, and follows a record-breaking year for Canadian tech. New investors included CDPQ, a long-term institutional investor, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and owner of advanced analytics company QuantumBlack, and Gouvernement du Québec. Existing investors from this round include DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, Real Ventures, among many others, the startup said, bringing the total amount raised so far to $340 million CAD ($257 million USD). "Operationalizing AI is currently the industry's toughest challenge, and few companies have been successful at taking proofs-of-concept out of the lab, imbedding them strategically in their operations, and delivering actual business impact," said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné.


Element AI announces $200 million CAD Series B round BetaKit

#artificialintelligence

Element AI has closed a much-anticipated venture round, raising a $200 million CAD ($151.4 million USD) Series B from the Government of Quebec, pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and McKinsey & Company, among others. The $200 million in funding is one of the largest venture capital rounds in Canadian history, and follows a record-breaking year for Canadian tech. New investors included CDPQ, a long-term institutional investor, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and owner of advanced analytics company QuantumBlack, and Gouvernement du Québec. Existing investors from this round include DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, Real Ventures, among many others, the startup said, bringing the total amount raised so far to $340 million CAD ($257 million USD). "Operationalizing AI is currently the industry's toughest challenge, and few companies have been successful at taking proofs-of-concept out of the lab, imbedding them strategically in their operations, and delivering actual business impact," said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné.


Should AI Researchers Get Special Access to Visas?

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Last year the annual artificial intelligence conference NeurIPS invited 230 researchers from Africa to attend a "Black in AI" workshop in Montreal. It was a great opportunity to bring some diversity to the field of AI. Sadly, however, the Canadian government denied visas for about a third of the Africans invited to the workshop. Many others were unable to attend because the Canadian government took too long to process their visas. The Partnership on AI--a group founded by Amazon, Facebook, Google's DeepMind subsidiary, Microsoft, and IBM--contends that these sorts of visa issues are a threat to the development of AI.