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CIC National Capital (Ottawa): Artificial Intelligence Development Race, Challenges & Opportunities for Canada in the Middle East

March 22, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

Event Description

This event is being organized by the CIC National Capital Branch’s Middle East Study Group.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has skyrocketed into the news in recent months with stories of promise and threat.

AI is not new. It started in the 1950’s in academia and spread to the commercial world for the first time in the early 1980’s, dying in an AI Winter by the mid 1990’s. Its commercial re-emergence exploded around 2010, primarily because of advances in computing power and development of natural language/speech recognition and machine learning. Today, AI is such a ‘hot topic’ that even political leadership in many countries talk up the benefits of AI while pouring money into AI research and commercialisation opportunities.

AI is an example of a disruptive technology, a number of which are on the horizon or even closer. These include Blockchain, the Internet of Things, 3-D printing on an industrial scale, CRISPR – a gene sequencing technique, tools to manipulate Big Data, autonomous vehicles, mobile internet, advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery, and improvements in energy storage, among others. These disruptive technologies also interact or benefit each other in many novel and unexpected ways. Innovation is the operative word to describe these new synergies.

This event will begin with a focus on the impact of disruptive technologies on society both from an historical perspective and from a foresight perspective as to where current disruptive technologies could lead in the coming decades.

Next, we will discuss the AI race and its possible future scenarios, probing deeper with several examples to illustrate the pros and cons of these kinds of developments, including autonomous decision making which demands the establishment of appropriate ethical choices.

Finally, It will review potential collaborations between Canada and the Middle East with respect to developing, deploying and using disruptive technologies – such as AI – to advance national socio-economic development and broader international stability, cooperation, and progress.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Peter MacKinnon, Managing Director, Synergy Technology Management.
With a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor and academic, he was an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs related to disruptive technologies and their impacts on society. He is one of the creators of Nuclear Winter, a pioneer in Big Data analytics using High Performance Computers, a pioneer in the commercialization of AI, and a major contributor in creating the internet Canada, among others.


There is no fee to attend this event, however, advanced registration is required. To register, contact Hamid Jorjani hjorjani@bell.net.


March 22, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
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Institute on Governance
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CIC National Capital (Ottawa) Branch