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research with the expectation that it will benefit the country in general.
DeepMind, the London-based leader in artificial intelligence owned by Google’s parent-company Alphabet, is now reaching across the pond to Canada. On July 5, Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO, DeepMind announced “the opening of DeepMind’s first ever international AI research office in Edmonton, Canada, in close collaboration with the University of Alberta.”
Though it was announced as a “first” in terms of leaving the UK home base, in reality, as Bloomberg reported in December, the company started building up “a small team” of researchers at a Google office in Mountain View, Calif. Certainly, there is a lot more fanfare for its move to Canada.
In addition to contributing on the research and education end DeepMind plans to invest in programs to promote “Edmonton’s growth as a technology and research hub.” The funding for such programs are also coming from within Canada, as the University of Alberta reveals in its take on the news. It welcomes the DeepMind move as yet another advance toward AI research in the country, which is the goal set by “the federal government’s Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.”
That federal program, which is to be run by CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, is expected to invest $125 million (Canadian dollars) in trying to establish an AI foothold in Canada. Dr. Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of CIFAR was quoted in StartUpHereToronto saying he anticipates “enormous potential for innovation” resulting from the initiative:
“Deep AI is a platform technology that cuts across virtually all sectors of the economy, with the potential to improve people’s lives. It will help build a stronger and more innovative economy, create high value jobs, improve transportation and lead to better and more efficient health care and social services.”
That makes AI sound like is capable not only of boosting productivity but of improving things all around. In reality, though, it depends where you stand.
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