Canada is making a big AI push with billions in investments

AI at Google IO 2023
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What you need to know

  • Canada's planned $2.4 billion investment in AI will focus on bolstering computing power for AI research, startups, and scaleups.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the potential of this investment to drive job creation and boost research and business productivity in the AI sector.
  • A significant portion of the investment, around CA$2 billion, will be dedicated to enhancing compute capabilities and infrastructure.

Canada's Liberal government has revealed a $2.4 billion package aimed at boosting the country's artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

According to CBC, Canada's government intends to use its 2024 budget to funnel the money into ramping up computing power for the nation's AI researchers, startups, and scaleups.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that this investment will tap into AI's full potential by speeding up job creation in Canada's AI sector, as well as enhancing research and business productivity through its adoption.

The bulk of the investment (CA$2 billion) will go towards boosting compute capabilities and infrastructure. This support will benefit Canada's leading AI researchers and startups, leading to the establishment of the Canadian AI Sovereign Compute Strategy.

Currently, Canada relies heavily on privately owned computing systems, likely referring to cloud services offered by companies based outside the country. This raises security concerns, as the data stored on these systems could be vulnerable to foreign access.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland suggested at a Sunday press conference that the fund would allow Canada to store and process data within its own borders, potentially improving national security, according to a report from Toronto Star.

Freeland believes Canada has the resources to build its own supercomputing infrastructure. This includes access to clean electricity for powering the systems, skilled engineers to design and maintain them, a cold climate that can help with cooling, and ample space to house large facilities.

Additionally, CA$200 million will be distributed by Canada's Regional Development Agencies to incentivize AI startups and enhance AI integration across pivotal sectors like agriculture, healthcare, clean technology, and manufacturing.

Generative AI models, propelled by pioneers such as OpenAI with its ChatGPT and Google's Gemini, are rapidly advancing. Canada appears eager to foster its own contender in this field.

The Canadian government is also establishing a $50 million AI safety institute. This institute will likely research and develop safeguards to mitigate risks posed by "advanced or nefarious AI systems."

An additional $5.1 million will be directed towards an office of the AI and Data Commissioner, whose role would likely be to enforce the proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act. This act would set guidelines and regulations around the development, use, and oversight of AI in Canada.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.