4 Jul

Canada’s Tryst with Artificial Intelligence

Posted by John Brandwagt

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the buzzword of this year. Of the different types of information technology jobs being created in Canada, employers are bullish on recruiting talent with a skillset to work with and develop artificial intelligence programming.

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Montreal-based AI research firm Element AI, in its report on global supply of AI researchers, pegged Canada to have the third largest pool of AI researchers. The Canadian government has also been quick to understand Canada’s strategic position in the IT ecosystem and has pledged $125mn towards a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy for scouting talent in the AI sector. This has led to a spike in the different types of IT jobs in Canada – from an IT technician to a machine learning engineer.

Our recruitment experts explain AI to you, provide a bit of its history and shed light on how is Canada heading towards being a global leader in the AI landscape.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Consider a computer device. Traditionally, it gives you an output basis on the input you keyed in and thus completes a cycle of processing. That is, computers act on your command. With Artificial Intelligence, the aim is to make computer systems reactive – so that it learns from its own experiences, much like humans – and starts performing tasks when conditions similar to ones observed before happen again, without the need of an input every time.

History of Artificial Intelligence

The term artificial intelligence was first coined in 1956 at a workshop in Dartmouth College. For the initial four decades, the project remained limited to its usage in defense and academic fields – to be revived by tech startups as latest as 2000 when its applications were used in the field of data mining and medical diagnosis.

This coincided with the cost of the semiconductor coming down significantly, which led to IT bigwigs turn their attention to artificial intelligence.

Everyday Examples of Artificial Intelligence

Ever visited a website with a chatbox somewhere around its bottom right corner? Chances are it is an AI-powered machine that responds to you in a way a customer-service rep would! One of the most prevalent AI systems are the voice-powered personal assistant, like Siri and Alexa. These personal assistants rely on learning cues from your behavior in order to provide you search results that are highly customized according to your location, interests, and increasingly, even mood!

Canada and The Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem

Canada is fast becoming the world leader in AI research and talent. This is part thanks to the advanced academic curriculum that Canadian universities follow, and part thanks to the collaborative framework academic research has in place with the corporate sector.

Montreal is undoubtedly the leader in both the number of students currently enrolled in AI-related courses and the number of firms devoted to AI research and development. The notable names here are Google Brain, Microsoft, Facebook’ FAIR Montreal and Canada’s homegrown AI giant – Enable AI.

The government is continuously supporting these initiatives in both academia as well as on the startup scene. The Government of Quebec has allocated over $100 mn in the past one year itself to create a province-wide cluster of AI research and development.

Top Job Profiles in Artificial Intelligence

An industry estimate tells that artificial intelligence is the sector looking at the maximum shortage of skilled talent. Recruiters are scouting for talent everywhere and this makes it an amazing time to start your career in AI. Below are top 5 in demand job profiles in AI right now:

  1. Machine Learning Engineers
  2. Data Scientists
  3. Robotic Scientist
  4. AI Research Scientist
  5. Business Intelligence Developer

Recruiters are finding it hard to scout talent for the development and research jobs out there in the field of IT. A Global Talent Report on AI by JF Gagne puts the overall number of skilled workers in AI at 22,000 globally! With such a bright future corresponding to shortage of talent, it is time to update your skills in artificial intelligence, get in touch with an IT recruitment specialist and land an amazing job in Canada.

10 Most In-Demand IT Jobs in Canada

John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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