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AI Futures Policy Labs: A series of workshops for emerging policymakers

In partnership with CIFAR, this project aims to help emerging policy leaders across Canada respond to the opportunities and challenges that accompany the rapid development of artificial intelligence
AI Futures Policy Labs: A series of workshops for emerging policymakers

Project Team

​Sarah Villeneuve
Policy Assistant
Heather Russek
Acting Director, Policy Innovation Platform
Meghan Hellstern
Senior Projects Officer

Why we’re doing this project

While breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, like prediction, natural language processing, and pattern and image recognition, offer promising opportunities in the form of better services, they also pose challenges in areas such as fairness, privacy, and safety. There is an increasing need to build capacity within the public policy field to ensure AI technologies are developed, implemented, and governed in ways that align with public interest objectives.

 

In January 2018, CIFAR and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) formed a partnership to design and host five AI Futures Policy Labs across Canada aimed at generating greater awareness of the long-term policy implications of AI among emerging policy leaders, both within and outside of the civil service. This series is supported through the Government of Canada’s $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy under the leadership of CIFAR.

The AI Futures Policy Lab series builds on BII+E’s AI + Public Policy: Understanding the Shift conference in March 2018, which brought together senior government leaders, industry experts, and academics for in-depth discussions on the public policy implications of AI. This event highlighted the need for policymakers to gain an understanding of AI technology and its development in order to design agile policy frameworks that are not only reactive, but also proactive.

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Our process

This partnership leverages the intellectual expertise of both CIFAR and BII+E in the design and delivery of this lab series in a number of ways. CIFAR has a long history of supporting Canadian AI R&D and currently engage in research related to the social, ethical and legal aspects of artificial intelligence through its AI & Society program. CIFAR also has an extensive network of fellows that provide expert insight into the rapidly expanding field of AI.

Similarly, BII+E’s AI + Society work stream seeks to understand the impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI), demystify core AI capabilities and identify new ways of using advances in AI to improve government and promote public interest. To achieve these aims, BII+E brings its experience in public engagements and in-house research capacity to develop relevant content, facilitate the participation of stakeholders, and then disseminate knowledge generated throughout the labs.

CIFAR and BII+E have collaboratively designed each lab to:

  • Provide emerging policy innovators with a direct line of sight into the AI sector, including the existing myths and hype, current capabilities, as well as present-day and potential applications. A mixture of presentations and discussions with prominent AI researchers and practitioners provide participants with the opportunity to learn common terminology, as well as current techniques and applications.
  • Increase the capacity of future leaders to understand the cross-cutting policy implications of AI. Facilitated discussions on curated scenarios encourage participants to ask critical questions surrounding the benefits and risks of current and potential AI capabilities and applications.
  • Facilitate early thinking on potential government responses to emerging AI applications. Lab activities have been designed to raise awareness of the types of interventions policy makers can utilize to mitigate the risks and encourage beneficial development and use of AI technologies.

The AI Futures Policy Labs series bring together individuals with a range of expertise in public policy, AI R&D, community engagement, and Indigenous studies.

Collaborators

Guest speakers:

  • Katya Kudashkina, Researcher, Vector Institute
  • Kim TallBear, Canadian Research Chair, Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Society
  • Cam Linke, Executive Director, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII)
  • Mark Schmidt, CIFAR Senior Fellow, Canada Research Chair in Large-Scale Machine Computing and Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, UBC
  • Maya Medeiros, Partner, Norton Rose Fullbright

Host organizations: 

  • ATB Financial
  • Microsoft
  • Element AI
​Sarah Villeneuve
Policy Assistant
Heather Russek
Acting Director, Policy Innovation Platform
Meghan Hellstern
Senior Projects Officer

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Deep Dive

4 Results

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Nov 14, 2018

This report provides a summary of the activities and content covered during the AI Futures Policy Lab hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia in partnership with CIFAR
AI Futures Policy Lab: Vancouver summary

Oct 11, 2018

This report provides an overview of the AI Futures Policy Lab we hosted in Edmonton, Alberta in partnership with CIFAR
AI Futures Policy Lab: Edmonton summary

Aug 22, 2018

An overview of activities and insights from participants during the first AI Futures Policy Lab we hosted in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
AI Futures Policy Lab: Toronto pilot summary

Aug 22, 2018

An overview of the Toronto pilot of the AI Futures Policy Labs, a series of workshops for emerging policymakers across Canada created in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
AI Futures Canada
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