Why Toronto’s AI Hotspot Reputation Is Well Deserved

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BDT social shuttle One of my favourite sayings for marketing is ‘It helps when it’s true’. Whether your product is the best ice cream in Toronto or the most effective way to remove foot fungus, marketing that product is always easier when you know that the thing in question can live up to its reputation. Creating the new artificial intelligence conference AI Toronto co-located with the annual Big Data Toronto conference and expo coming up June 20-21, I’ve found Toronto’s reputation as an AI and machine learning destination to be well deserved – making my job that much easier. If you work in tech, claiming to be a leading city in AI might sound a bit trite. Considering the transformative effective that AI is supposed to have on both consumer technology and major businesses, being a leader in artificial intelligence is no small claim. So it’s important that the federal government made it a priority in the 2017 budget, including $950 million towards superclusters and $125 million towards a national AI strategy that will connect AI hubs across the country. The Vector Institute at the University of Toronto is one beneficiary of public and private funding, receiving $40 million to $50 million from the national AI strategy fund and partnering with Canada’s banks and leading technology companies. That institutional commitment makes a difference in Toronto. For instance, Next Canada has created an incubator exclusively for AI-focused startups called Next AI. We’re proud to have them as an associate partner for AI Toronto. Looking to the future of self-driving cars, Uber began a new branch of their Advanced Technologies Group–their first outside the U.S.–hiring the University of Toronto’s Raquel Urtasun with the plan to hire dozens more data scientists and keep them in Toronto. As my colleagues and I quickly learned, there’s no shortage of casual and formal meetups dedicated to AI and machine learning. While the academic nature of AI tends to attract a smaller group than say VR or wearables, but – as innovative companies and many levels of government suspect – these people will have an outsized economic impact on Toronto. That’s why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premiere Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory are all eager to be seen at AI events in the city. For Big Data and AI Toronto, we’ve assembled dozens of AI and machine learning speakers from all kinds of organizations, from startups and non-profits to major corporations. Bringing together Toronto’s diverse data community wasn’t easy, but it’s hard to imagine pulling it off in any other city. Big Data Toronto and AI Toronto on June 20-21 are free to attend. Register here and use code CAMP75 for $75 off a VIP ticket. Ben Myers, Marketing Manager, CORP Agency https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/artificial-intelligence-is-the-future-and-canada-must-seize-it/article33532668/

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