Artificial Intelligence Policy and Funding in Canada: Public Investments, Private Interests

62 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022 Last revised: 21 Jun 2022

Date Written: March 1, 2021

Abstract

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are becoming more prominent in our everyday lives, bringing with them long lasting political and socio-economic implications. The development and use of AI is supported both privately and publicly. Governments support AI because it promises economic growth, military advantage, and streamlining labour functions through automation. The Canadian government is investing heavily in AI, with billions of dollars in funding committed. As of August 2020, $1 billion in government contributions have been awarded across Canada. An additional $1.2 billion of planned government investments have been publicly announced for the province of Quebec. In Montreal, over $2 billion in private investments have been reported.

Power lies in funding and investment networks, yet public access to these networks is notoriously difficult. This exploratory research begins to examine public investment flows in AI. Access to financial flows is a gateway to understanding decisions made behind closed doors. Billions of taxpayers’ money goes into AI. How is the Canadian government building the innovation economy under AI? To answer this question, public documents and datasets were analyzed, complemented by semi-structured research interviews, and participation at public events and meetings. From March to June 2020, the author conducted 53 research interviews with experts based in Canada. Interviewees included government officials, industry researchers and analysts, legal practitioners, non-profit practitioners, human rights advocates, and academics working in, or adjacent to the AI landscape. The report seeks to inform policymakers, researchers and civil society representatives.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, policy, funding, government, public investments

Suggested Citation

Brandusescu, Ana, Artificial Intelligence Policy and Funding in Canada: Public Investments, Private Interests (March 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4089932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4089932

Ana Brandusescu (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

Montréal, Quebec
Canada

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