Canada is well positioned to be an AI superstar

Canada is well positioned to be an AI superstar

Sarah Villeneuve January 21, 2019 

In December, hundreds of artificial intelligence’s (AI) best and brightest converged on Montreal for a conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), the world’s largest AI conference, to discuss the latest research, debates and questions in this rapidly growing area of tech. Canada has been selected to host NeurIPS for the next two years (2019-2020). This is a unique opportunity for the country to position itself as a leader in cutting edge AI research and adoption across the public and private sectors.

There are three things Canada should consider in order to chart a course to AI superstardom.

Expand domestic markets for home-grown applications

So far, our reputation has been acquired largely as a result of an early and sustained commitment by federal and provincial governments to fund pioneering research in AI and its theoretical foundations. This choice has paid huge dividends; it has enabled us to establish an impressive base of talent and research, and it has encouraged the presence of a deep culture and community of AI trailblazers and superstar scholars. Yet despite this investment in Canada’s AI R&D ecosystem, we have only begun to scratch the surface of our country’s potentialThe next step is to ensure Canadian companies are benefiting from our innovations in AI.

We know that AI has the potential to improve productivity across sectors in the Canadian economy. Its successful adoption by industry will help strengthen our competitive advantage in the global market. However, we need to address the challenge of identifying relevant, viable, readily applicable AI-driven business solutions. We also need to identify the skilled individuals that businesses require in order to successfully adopt and implement AI technologies. Talent and skills should not be an afterthought in the adoption of AI; to ensure it is successfully implemented, this talent needs to be considered in tandem with the procurement of AI.

The Brookfield Institute is working with partners to better understand and develop solutions to address the talent barriers preventing Canadian businesses from successfully adopting AI.

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