In a strategic push to enhance its artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, Canada is setting up a new fund aimed at strengthening the sector, alongside establishing an AI safety institute. This initiative comes as part of a series of spending announcements by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leading up to the unveiling of a new budget.

On Sunday, the Canadian government revealed a comprehensive package valued at $1.8 billion directed towards artificial intelligence initiatives. At the heart of this package is a significant C$2 billion allocation dedicated to bolstering “computing capabilities and technological infrastructure.” This investment aims to catalyze the endeavors of AI researchers, startups, and other related entities, as detailed in a recent government statement.

Trudeau said: “[The funds] will help harness the full potential of AI so Canadians, and especially young Canadians, can get good-paying jobs while raising our productivity, and growing our economy.” Other funds in the package will be used to accelerate the adoption of AI in Canada’s healthcare and agriculture sectors, according to the government’s statement.

Benjamin Bergen, the leader of the Council of Canadian Innovators, expressed a need for further details regarding the process through which businesses can access the computing resources and infrastructure that the government intends to provide. He said: “If this gives Canadian companies the resources to compete globally, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction.”

The announcement was made by the Prime Minister in Montreal, which has become one of Canada’s key centers for AI development. This city, the largest in Quebec, has carved a niche for itself in foundational research in AI, a development attributed in part to the presence of esteemed AI scholar Yoshua Bengio. Notably, Bengio, alongside figures like Elon Musk and Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, endorsed a letter last year urging a temporary halt in the advancement of sophisticated AI models.

Canada is currently without specific legislation to govern artificial intelligence. The proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, which was introduced to parliament in 2022, remains under review by lawmakers.

Tech giants in other regions have been boosting the presence of AI by advancing the local infrastructure. Companies including Microsoft and Google have made advancements in Spain, Germany, and various other countries for that purpose.

Via: Bloomberg