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Artificial Intelligence

Government of Canada creates Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence

Vlad Poptamas

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a set of complex and powerful technologies that will touch or transform every sector and industry in Canada. It has the power to help us address some of our most challenging problems, from improving Canadians’ health to fighting climate change. It will also introduce new sources of job creation and sustainable economic growth. Canada has already started harnessing AI through the AI supercluster, based in Montréal.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the launch of the Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence. This is the next step in the Government of Canada’scomprehensive approach to supporting this important new sector. The Minister announced the creation of the Council while in Paris for the G7 meeting of Digital Ministers. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Building Digital Trust Together.” Participants will reflect on the parameters required to foster innovation while building trust in digital societies and economies.

The council will advise the Government of Canada on how best to build on Canada’s AI strengths, identify opportunities to create economic growth that benefits all Canadians and ensure that AI advancements reflect Canadian values. The Government is committed to promoting a human-centric approach to AI, grounded in human rights, transparency and openness. These values will ensure that we can increase trust and accountability in AI while protecting our democratic values, processes and institutions.

Specifically, the council will establish a working group on commercializing value from Canadian-owned AI and data analytics, building on the work started by the Digital Industries Economic Strategy Table. It will also provide advice on how best to advance the goals laid out in the Canada-France Statement on Artificial Intelligence and will support Canada’s participation in various international engagements such as the G7, the G20, the OECD and the World Economic Forum.

The advisory council will be co-chaired by Foteini Agrafioti, Chief Science Officer for the Royal Bank of Canada, and Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms.

Members of the advisory council also include:

  • Pierre Boivin, President and CEO, Claridge
  • Natalie Cartwright, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Finn AI
  • Marc-Antoine Dilhac, Canada Research Chair in Public Ethics and Political Theory, Université de Montréal
  • Eli Fathi, Co-Founder and CEO, MindBridge Analytics Inc.
  • Geoffrey Hinton, Chief Scientific Advisor, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence
  • Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology, University of Ottawa
  • Jordan Kyriakidis, Co-Founder and CEO, QRA Corp.
  • AJung Moon, Director, Open Roboethics Institute
  • Mona NemerCanada’s Chief Science Advisor
  • Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, University of Ottawa
  • Elissa Strome, Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • Richard Sutton, Chief Science Advisor, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute
  • Geneviève Tanguay, Vice President of Emerging Technologies, National Research Council Canada

Quotes

“Artificial intelligence is more than just a new product or service. It has the potential to help us solve some of the most difficult challenges we face, create jobs and growth across all industries, and improve the lives of all Canadians. The advisory council will help us capitalize on Canada’s leadership in AI in ways that upholds Canadian values of inclusiveness and diversity so that all Canadians can participate in and benefit from the digital economy.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Artificial intelligence has enormous potential to help us design the responsive digital services that Canadians demand, but it must be used ethically and responsibly. The Advisory Council on Artificial intelligence will give us essential expertise from across industry, academia and government to make sure we use AI in a way that is transparent, deliberate and accountable.”
– The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Quick facts

  • Canada has a strong foundation in AI to build on, with strengths in science, skills and talent, and clusters, as well as a thriving start-up ecosystem. Canada is home to more than 800 AI companies, and the number of Canadian AI start-ups is growing by approximately 28% year over year.
  • Artificial intelligence is an important contributor to Canada’s economy. In 2018, $548 million in venture capital was invested in Canadian AI companies, an increase of approximately 50% from 2017. As well, Canadian job opportunities in the field of AI grew by nearly 500% between June 2015 and June 2017.
  • The government selected five superclusters that represent more than 450 businesses, 60 postsecondary institutions and 180 other participants. These superclusters are all planning to support projects that will promote the development or use of AI in their respective industries. The AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI) will be the supercluster with the biggest focus on AI, undertaking activities to develop next-generation AI-powered supply chain platforms and create over 16,000 jobs for Canadians.
  • The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy supports AI research and talent attraction and retention in Canada, promotes collaboration between Canada’s main centres of AI expertise, and positions Canada as a leading destination for companies in this sector.
  • The Government of Canada’s support for the Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence will be led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Privy Council Office, as well as other federal departments and partners.
  • On November 22, 2018, at the Digital 9 Summit in IsraelCanada and the other D9 member nations agreed on a shared approach to the responsible implementation and use of AI by governments.

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