Canadian AI Development Space Seen Accelerating In 2018 With Big Investments

Photo: Canadian AI Development Space Seen Accelerating In 2018 With Big Investments

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is hot right now. Unlike many areas of technology that have limited uses in specialized fields, the AI space can be adapted to just about any industry.

The recent takeover of Layer 6 Inc. by TD Bank is a good demonstration of how important major financial players see AI as being for growing their businesses in a competitive space. When it comes down to it, AI makes things work better, and removes humans from the workflow.

This means greater efficiency with lower costs, but there is so much more that AI can do for almost any industry. One of the big reasons why AI is so important today is the amount of data that we generate as a society is growing rapidly.

Most people live online, with all of their communications, banking and social interactions going through some form of online service. This all creates a huge amount of data, and humans are reaching their limits when it comes to making the data an asset.

Working Smarter

Layer 6 Inc. focused on crunching big data in order to make product recommendations for shoppers, but underlying capability of the technology is profound.

The kind of AI that a company like Layer 6 developed can go into a data set, and without prior access, develop accurate models of consumer behavior. This is in essence a way to develop psychological profiles, that are predictive to a degree that is sometimes scary. It takes the algorithms less than a second to do the work, and the amount of data that can be incorporated into the process is astounding.

It is difficult to imagine the human equivalent of what Layer 6's technology does, but it is fair to say that when applied to large data sets, there would be no way for a system without AI to compete. This is probably why money is pouring into the AI development space. In Canada, 2017 saw a record $250 million US Dollars flow into the sector.

In the AI world, there is a big overlap between public and private interests. Part of the reason that Canada has become so competitive in the AI space is the quality of the university systems in Canada, and the support that ideas that were well ahead of their time have been given over the past few decades.

A Lot More Than Syrup

Canada is in a position to become one of the world leaders in the AI development space. For a long time 'Silicon Valley' was the place to be for anything that was cutting edge and tech, but now 'Maple Valley' looks like it could be the world leader for AI developers.

The USA has made some very bad decisions when it comes to letting skilled workers into their nation. Canada, on the other hand, is more than willing to accept thought leaders into its economy. That may be part of the reason why DeepMind chose to open its first office outside of the UK in Canada. The fact that many people from The University of Alberta were working there probably didn't hurt either.

A recently launched Canadian AI website called will help people from across the business world stay current on the trends in Canadian AI development. was the work of NEXT Canada and a few of the other top AI collectives in Canada, and it is worth keeping an eye on what is coming out of a space that could produce some amazing technology.

If you are interested in meeting some of the top minds and companies in Canadian technology, the Cantech Investment Conference is a great event to attend. In addition to AI and machine learning, some of the biggest names in cryptos, Blockchain development, VR/AR tech and drones will be there.

The Cantech Investment Conference is coming up soon, and on January 31st, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center it all happens. Registration is now open, and if you preregister, or are a student, there are reduced prices available.

In addition to leading companies, some of the brightest minds in tech and finance will be in attendance, and we hope to see you there!