Did you hear about the guy who left an executive role at Facebook in Silicon Valley to start up an artificial intelligence company right here in Toronto?
That guy is Steve Irvine. He’s betting that Toronto is the best place in the world to create a hub for the biggest technology advancement since electricity — artificial intelligence.
AI development is already in full swing here in Toronto. We’ve only scratched the surface of the ways artificial intelligence applications can improve our lives.
Why Steve Irvine chose Toronto
While working with Facebook and Instagram, Mr. Irvine tested the waters in some of the world’s top technology hubs including Silicon Valley, Silicon Wadi (Isreal) and ZHongguancun (China).
He weighed the pros and cons of each location and concluded that Toronto, Canada is the best place in the world to build a global leading AI company.
“I felt as if Canada — with the emergence of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor and growing ecosystems in Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton and Halifax — had all of the raw materials to be a world leader in AI.” – Steve Irvine, Source: Canada ca be an AI leader. I left Silicon Valley to prove it
Mr. Irvine was right on the money. He’s already succeeded in raising $5 million (U.S.) in seed funding for his company Integrate.AI from Georgian Partners, a Toronto-based venture capital firm.
They call it the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor
According to a TechNorth-McKinsey Report released in December 2016, Toronto has everything it takes to build a global technology supercluster of expertise in artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
- World-class academic and research centres
- A large, high-quality talent pool
- Access to capital
- Connective infrastructure and community
- High standards of living
- Access to early adopters and receptive markets
- University of Toronto is ranked in the top 25 universities globally, the top 50 most innovative universities in the world, and is #24 on the HackerRank list of colleges with the best coders in the world
- University of Waterloo is the #1 Canadian university for venture-capital-backed student businesses, has the world’s largest co-op education program, and #5 on HackRank’s list of colleges with the best coders in the world
- McMaster University has Canada’s leading industry-sponsored research programs
- University of Guelph is a leader in ag-biotech and global agricultural research
- Next Canada
- Creative Destruction Labs Velocity
- Accelerator Centre
A large, high-quality talent pool
- The Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor employs 205,000+ tech workers, second only to Silicon Valley in North America
- Highly skilled software engineers and developers want to work in Toronto due to our wealth of job opportunities, diversity and excellent living standards
High standards of living
- Toronto is ranked as the 4th most liveable city in North America
- Canada is ranked as the 2nd most cost-competitive country in the world
- According to Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Rankings, Toronto ranks as the 2nd best city in North America for quality of living for expats
- We love our diversity! Actually, we barely notice our diversity as people with different religions, cultures and genders just get along and gwork together
Carpe diem! Let’s seize the opportunity in AI
The TechNorth McKinsey Report projects that the success of tech companies in the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor has the potential to create wealth and expertise that will spillover to Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
Building a technology supercluster that’s specifically focused on artificial intelligence and quantum computing would have real impact for Canadians over the next 10 years.
- Direct equity value of tech companies could increase by up to $50 billion within 10 years
- 170,000 new jobs could be created
- An increase of $17 billion in the GDP (gross domestic product) could be realised
Now that we know the potential AI has to empower the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo and other major cities in Canada, let’s bring this discussion to the ground.
Don’t be scared by AI
AI is not as hard as you think. There are apps, online course and public domain datasets to get you started.
AI is nothing without data. Learn everything you can about AI, machine learning and data analysis.
Start dreaming about ways you can use AI to innovate and build solutions to help your customers.
I’ll be learning right along with you.
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- AI Revolution: Make This The Year You Embrace AI
- TEDxToronto 2016: Awesome Canadians You Need to Know
- Hiring Outliers: How to Identify, Recruit and Hire Innovative Developers with Game-Changer Potential
- Norman Powell, The Raptors and Hiring Outliers