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UCP investing $9 million in AI research institute

Last year, the NDP provided 3 times as much funding to the same organization.

Last week, the Alberta government announced $9 million in funding to help boost use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the energy and agriculture sectors.

All the funding will go to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), a non-profit conducting research and development at the University of Alberta in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, known collectively as machine intelligence.

The funding will combine $4 million from Alberta Innovates and $5 million through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction system.

The NDP government under Rachel Notley granted $27 million in funding to Amii in early 2019, as part of a $150 million overall investment in technology as an economic diversification initiative.

As of 2017, Amii also was receiving an annual $2 million grant from the provincial government through what was then the ministry of economic development and trade. The ministry was recently renamed to Jobs, Economy and Innovation, but presumably that grant has continued.

This funding announced last week is part of a total $34-million package announced nearly a year ago during the UCP’s first budget to be spent over the next 4 years on initiatives related to artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and cyberinfrastructure.

In addition to this provincial funding, Amii has attracted research funding through the private sector, $2.75 million from Western Economic Diversification, and $25 million over 5 years (starting in 2017) from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on municipal, provincial, and federal politics, specializing in investigative journalism and critical analysis from a leftist political lens. He also writes regular editorials on general politics and social issues.

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