Deep learning, deep insights, deep artificial minds — the list goes on and on. But with unprecedented promise comes some unprecedented peril.
Around the end of each year major dictionaries declare their “word of the year.” Last year, for instance, the most looked-up word at Merriam-Webster.com was “justice.” Well, even though it’s early, I’m ready to declare the word of the year for 2019.
The word is “deep.”
Why? Because recent advances in the speed and scope of digitization, connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence are now taking us “deep” into places and into powers that we’ve never experienced before — and that governments have never had to regulate before. I’m talking about
- deep learning,
- deep insights,
- deep surveillance,
- deep facial recognition,
- deep voice recognition,
- deep automation and
- deep artificial minds.
..Which is why it may not be an accident that one of the biggest hit songs today is “Shallow,” from the movie “A Star Is Born.” The main refrain, sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is: “I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in. … We’re far from the shallow now.”
.. We sure are. But the lifeguard is still on the beach and — here’s what’s really scary — he doesn’t know how to swim! More about that later. For now, how did we get so deep down where the sharks live?
The short answer: Technology moves up in steps, and each step, each new platform, is usually biased toward a new set of capabilities. Around the year 2000 we took a huge step up that was biased toward connectivity, because of the explosion of fiber-optic cable, wireless and satellites.
Suddenly connectivity became so fast, cheap, easy for you and ubiquitous that it felt like you could touch someone whom you could never touch before and that you could be touched by someone who could never touch you before.
Around 2007, we took another big step up. The iPhone, sensors, digitization, big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing melded together and created a new platform that was biased toward abstracting complexity at a speed, scope and scale we’d never experienced before.
So many complex things became simplified. Complexity became so fast, free, easy to use and invisible that soon with one touch on Uber’s app you could page a taxi, direct a taxi, pay a taxi, rate a taxi driver and be rated by a taxi driver.
Government seek to attract investment from big foreign players while stopping the brain drain
Mr. Trudeau has lamented a “brain drain” of Canada’s best tech minds, saying at a recent Google event in Toronto, “Quite frankly, we’re tired of Google poaching our best graduates from the University of Waterloo and sucking them down to California.”
.. Trudeau wrote to Mr. Bezos, asking him to consider Canada because of its inclusiveness, single-payer health-care system, and an immigration system designed to attract high-skilled talent.
.. Canada is widely considered to be at the nucleus of some world-leading research in areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
.. Seminal work published by University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Hinton, University of Montreal’s Yoshua Bengio and others has spawned advancements in voice recognition and automated driving. Mr. Hinton published breakthrough research on “deep learning” in 2007 and 2012 that ushered in a new wave of AI and the potential it could have for smartphones, self-driving cars and other devices.
.. Canada’s AI talent pool is also the third biggest in the world behind the U.S. and the U.K., with about 1,100 researchers in the country
.. An Amazon move to Toronto might also end up being a “Trojan horse” that would draw Canadian workers to the company’s Seattle base rather than improve Canada’s economy
.. “The best and brightest Canadian engineers or marketers that operate under Amazon Canada will see their career path head down to Seattle, not in Canada,”
.. He says companies like Facebook have different needs than startups, noting that staff at Facebook’s AI lab in Montreal are focused on more advanced research.
.. Cole Clifford, a 23-year-old machine-learning engineer at Toronto-based startup DeepLearni.ng , said he received about 50 recruiter emails in his LinkedIn account last month, most of them from Silicon Valley firms
.. the Canadian government spent C$125 million last March to set up new AI “superclusters” in Toronto
.. The goal is to keep researchers in Canada and create 1,000 AI graduates in the next five years
.. “We aren’t realizing that the intellectual property developed by these individuals and all of those economic benefits are rarely in Canada and not taxed in Canada,” Mr. Ruffalo said. “That’s the problem.”
.. One potential avenue for keeping foreign companies in check is for Canada to withhold R&D tax incentives
.. Another option is to create a government-backed sovereign patent fund, similar to what South Korea, Japan and France have launched in recent years, which would protect smaller startups from patent claims by foreign companies
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