LG Electronics announced on May 29 that it has appointed Dr. Darin Graham, a world-class artificial intelligence specialist, as the director of its AI lab established in Toronto, Canada, last August. Graham, a founding member of the global AI research institute Vector Institute in Toronto, has worked at leading research institutions such as the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) and Communications & Information Technology Ontario (CITO).
LG Electronics plans to make the Toronto AI lab a global base for AI research and development (R&D). The institute carries out tasks aimed at securing AI source technologies by using the neural network, which is the core of deep learning.
"We plan to apply the technology we acquire here to robots, appliances, automobiles, and energy control," a company official said. "We are also planning to invest in startups or work with Canadian AI startups," he added. LG Group also built a group-level AI research base in Toronto. LG Science Park signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Toronto on May 22 and plans to operate the Toronto Corporate AI Lab from this July.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics also built a base for AI innovation research in Canada. On May 2, it relocated the SAIT AI Lab Montreal to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) institute building and plans to collaborate with Professor Yoshua Bengio, one of the world's top three scholars of deep learning. To this end, the company appointed Professor Simon Lacoste-Julien of the MILA Institute as the head of the Lab.
With active government support and talent attraction, Canada has emerged as a base for AI research. According to KOTRA, Google, IBM, GM and Uber have already set up AI labs in Toronto, while Facebook, Microsoft and Deep Mind offices are located in Montreal. Ed Minton has become one of the three major AI research strongholds.
More than 150 startup training institutes are also training local startups in Canada. The Canadian government offers a variety of benefits to foreign startup entrepreneurs who have received support from incubators, accelerators, and investors designated by the Federal Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship. It helps them relocate to Canada by providing free office spaces and management consulting services.
As a result, Canadian AI startup investment, which stood at US$16 million in 2013, surged to US$418 million last year. Through such an ecosystem, Canada has emerged as the mecca of AI that major corporations around the world pay attention to.
AI has emerged as a future growth engine, but domestic infrastructure remains underdeveloped. According to the Software Policy Research Institute, the number of domestic AI development workforce by 2022 is estimated to be 9,986 less than needed. The major universities have established AI graduate schools, but classes are taught by current engineering school professors because there are no professional AI specialist instructors to hire.
An industry official said, "As AI is the core competitiveness of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the government and enterprises together must form a strategic talent development and industry creation plan."