Google’s AI Branch Is Moving to Tech-Friendly Canada

July 6, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Over the past five years, Google has been on the hunt for the top talent in the field of artificial intelligence. The company is hoping to beat competitors like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon that share the same belief that AI is the way of the future. Google is already using machine learning to revamp Google Translate and help people find new jobs, and its new Google Lens tool wants to utilize AI as a way to turn your phone’s camera into a search device. The company has launched the initiative, which will be an invaluable resource for the AI research community. As CEO Sundar Pichai said last year, “We’re evolving in computing from a ‘mobile-first’ to an ‘AI-first’ world.” Android app developers can soon look forward to a world where AI is incorporated into all of Google’s products and services.

One of Google’s secret weapons in its AI aspirations is DeepMind, its London-based AI wing, acquired by Google back in 2014. DeepMind is now opening a new office at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, its “first ever international AI office” (well, if you don’t count its 20 applied researchers at Google HQ in Mountain View). Edmonton may seem like an odd location to Android app developers, but the University of Alberta has a reputation as a world-class hub of AI research. DeepMind has long backed the university’s machine learning lab and has plucked a dozen of its grads for research jobs. Although machine learning is very much in vogue among major tech companies right now, it was written off as frivolous for years in Silicon Valley. During that time, the Canadians made great headway on AI research.

Of course, Toronto Android app developers are well aware of Canada’s hospitality to AI research. This year, Justin Trudeau’s government has pledged $125 million CAD to fuel the AI sector’s growth. Contrast Canada’s friendliness to the tech industry with Donald Trump’s anti-tech policies, and it’s easy to see why DeepMind’s team wound up in Edmonton.

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