Intro to AI for Policymakers: Understanding the shift

An overview of key AI concepts, their cross-cutting policy implications, and potential applications to government services and operations
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Intro to AI for Policymakers
Nisa Malli
BII+E Alumni
Melinda Jacobs
Project Advisor
​Sarah Villeneuve
Alumni, Policy Analyst

About this Report

Prepared as background reading for participants at our March 2018 AI + Public Policy conference, this report explores the origins of AI, AI’s present-day capabilities, the challenges and opportunities associated with these technological advances, and their application to public life and public policy. It is the first in a series produced by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship on the public policy implications of AI.

Read this report to help you:
  • Understand the core technical concepts in artificial intelligence
  • Gain insight into the cross-cutting policy implications and potential applications to government services and operations

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  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has benefited from a number of recent technological advances, from increases in processing power to decreases in battery costs, and the explosion of available data.
  • The current speed of development and adoption of AI poses challenges to policymakers seeking to create regulations, use AI applications to improve government operations and service delivery, and better understand and respond to the socioeconomic impacts.
  • Innovations such as autonomous vehicles are already challenging traditional regulatory regimes and planning in transit, infrastructure, and public safety. Natural language processing and predictive algorithms are already operating inside everyday technology in our homes and workplaces.
  • To date, the majority of Canadian policy attention and investment has focused on building talent, supporting research, and encouraging the development of commercial AI applications.
  • However, AI is experiencing a renewed prominence in public consciousness and public life, demanding policy responses beyond those focused on research and innovation.

Deep Dive

4 Results


Aug 11, 2018

In partnership with the Government of Ontario’s Policy Innovation Hub, we sought to bring together senior government leaders and industry experts for a day of discussion on AI and its implications
The AI Shift: Engaging policymakers to better understand the potential implications of AI on public policy

Apr 25, 2018

AI carries with it the potential to assist in the delivery of crucial government services and improve decision-making systems
Illustration of people sitting at yellow desks working on devices that are sending signals to display screens.

March 23, 2018

On March 23, 2018, we brought together senior government leaders and industry experts for a day of stimulating speakers and in-depth discussions on AI and its potential impacts on public policy
AI + Public Policy: Understanding the Shift

Mar 22, 2018

Illustration of people working on computers and tablets with robot on platform connected to monitor.
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