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Canadian Prime Minister announces $1.8 billion boost for AI sector



Canada has initiated a program to support AI infrastructure development, drive the growth of startup ventures, and establish an institute dedicated to AI safety.

Through a federal budget allocation of 2.4 billion Canadian dollars (USD1.76B) to enhance its artificial intelligence (AI) industry and uphold the nation’s competitive advantage in AI technology.

The government has announced a new range of initiatives, which includes investing in AI-related startups, medium-sized enterprises, and research firms, with the goal of securing Canada’s leading position in AI.

“The rapid advance of generative AI today will unlock immense economic potential for Canada, significantly improving productivity and reducing the time workers have to spend on repetitive tasks,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an April 7 statement.

Through the implementation of the package, $1.47 billion was dedicated to enhancing computing capabilities and developing AI-related infrastructure via Canada’s newly established AI Compute Access Fund. This initiative aimed to provide support to the nation’s foremost AI researchers and startups.

To nurture growth in AI startups, $147 million was designated for industries like agriculture, clean technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. Another $73.5 million was specifically aimed at boosting efficiency in small and medium-sized AI scale-up businesses.

“This will create good-paying opportunities for every generation, boost innovation across the economy, raise productivity, and accelerate economic growth.”

Trudeau highlighted that AI had already facilitated numerous advancements in drug discovery, energy efficiency, and housing innovation within the country.

Besides supporting the country’s AI-driven industries, the government has also initiated measures to safeguard and empower workers whose jobs may be affected by the rapid advancements in AI.

As part of these efforts, workers facing job displacement due to AI will receive up to $36.8 million in funding through Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. This program aims to offer specialized training and re-skilling opportunities across various sectors.

A recent report from CVL Economics highlighted the film and animation industries as being particularly susceptible to AI-driven job displacement, with workers in these sectors at the highest risk of losing their jobs to generative AI.

The remaining $36.8 million of funding from the new AI strategy will be directed toward the creation of a Canadian AI Safety Institute, an initiative designed to promote responsible and ethical AI development and deployment.

Canada asserted its pioneering status as the first nation to implement a national AI strategy with the introduction of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy in 2017. This initiative was designed to promote the adoption of AI through research and commercialization efforts.

Although Canada’s AI market remained relatively modest when compared to the juggernaut that is the U.S. AI industry, data from Statistica indicated that Canada’s market was valued at a still-impressive $7.4 billion, while the U.S. market continued to reign supreme with a whopping $106 billion valuation.

Reportedly, Canada’s AI strategy included endeavors to enlist multiple emerging AI firms from the European Union.

Read also: Sora Ventures & Metaplanet partner for ‘Asia’s Microstrategy’ pre-bitcoin halving


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