May 04, 2022 News
Building capacity for artificial intelligence
Alberta’s government is investing in the province’s first public sector artificial intelligence (AI) lab.
In support of the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy (ATIS) and in partnership with AltaML, a leading Canadian artificial intelligence company, the AI lab (named GovLab.ai) will position Alberta for a successful digital future while improving services offered to hard-working Albertans. AltaML will work alongside government staff and post-secondary students and graduates as they work to develop smart products and models that leverage AI to solve complex, real-world problems.
The lab will create opportunities for Alberta’s public and private sectors to create intellectual property while accelerating Alberta’s recovery and economic diversification.
“Alberta is a world leader in AI and machine learning research. With the launch of GovLab.ai, we can build on that momentum and create more opportunities to apply AI to solve problems in new ways. Ultimately this will help Alberta’s government offer better services, better results and better value to Albertans.”
Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta
“AltaML is proud to partner with the Government of Alberta to launch GovLab.ai and to build a sustainable innovation practice that will create new AI-powered solutions for the public sector – to be used here and exported globally. We’re excited to see how GovLab.ai will create impact through solutions development, as well as talent development.”
Nicole Janssen, co-founder and co-CEO, AltaML
Growing in-demand skill sets
GovLab.ai is designed to encourage the growth of machine learning and AI skill sets that are in high demand across Alberta and around the world.
GovLab.ai includes a talent accelerator for public service professionals, post-secondary students and recent graduates. Students and graduates will gain real-world, hands-on experience developing solutions, including those designed for the public service. Public service professionals will gain new skill sets and ideas needed to become agents of change in their departments, advocating for more technology shifts.
“Strengthening Alberta’s position as a leader in artificial intelligence is a key objective of the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy. By providing opportunities for students and government staff to build skill sets, we are moving our province forward and building an economy for the future.”
Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
“We have seen multiple impacts of our Applied AI Lab talent accelerator and we’re very excited to expand on this success with the launch of the GovLab.ai. The Government of Alberta is poised to become a global leader in transforming the public sector through applied AI, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be working together.”
Cory Janssen, co-founder and co-CEO, AltaML
“We are excited to work with the Government of Alberta and AltaML on GovLab.ai. Innovation is an incredibly important part of Alberta and Canada’s future and this new collaboration will give students an opportunity to develop the hands-on skills that will be vital to solving society’s biggest problems.”
John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs
- AltaML estimates that AI will yield about $100 million in benefits for Alberta over the next five years and, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, $13 trillion to the global economy over the next decade.
- Alberta’s government will invest $3.4 million annually into GovLab.ai.
- AltaML has committed $1 million toward the first year of operations.
- Mitacs has committed funding to support job opportunities for post-secondary students.
- Mitacs is a Canadian non-profit national research organization that partners with academia, private industry and government to operate research and training programs in fields related to industrial and social innovation.
- GovLab.ai will be fully operational by summer 2022, with a pilot cohort starting in May.
- The lab will operate on a cohort basis with intakes of government staff and post-secondary interns every four months.
- The GovLab.ai will evaluate a portfolio of ideas according to a methodology that will include:
- Viability screening: assessing potential projects to determine whether they are viable, if supporting data is adequate and if a project meaningfully supports program delivery.
- Development: creating and testing models to deliver proof of concepts, scaling to a production solution.
- Operationalization: implementation of models into full service state.
- With four tenants, it is expected up to eight ideas will go through this process every four months, though not all will be considered viable as proofs of concept.
- Projects viable for commercialization may require additional work beyond the experimentation conducted through GovLab.ai, which may introduce opportunities in the tech sector.
- 20 per cent of profits will be reinvested into lab operations.
Claire Kay, External Relations Lead