Table of contents

Overview

The Alberta government is partnering with AltaML, a world-class Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) company headquartered in Edmonton, with a proven track record of developing AI models, solutions, and labs. Under the Applied AI Lab, named GovLab.ai, AltaML will work alongside government staff and post-secondary students and graduates as they work to develop smart products and models that leverage AI and machine learning (ML) to solve complex, real-word problems.

Economic opportunities

GovLab.ai will help cement Alberta as a dominant player and innovation hub that attracts talent, business, and job-creating investment. The ultimate vision is for economic growth opportunities to be created by developing intellectual property that is backed by Alberta public sector organizations and can then be exported globally and bring royalty revenue right back to Albertans and Alberta companies.

Growing in-demand skill sets

GovLab.ai is designed to encourage the growth of ML and AI skill sets that are in high demand across Alberta and around the world.

GovLab.ai includes a talent accelerator for government staff, post-secondary students and recent graduates. Students and graduates will gain real-world, hands-on experience developing solutions, including those designed for the public service. Government staff will gain new skill sets and ideas needed to become agents of change in their departments, advocating for more technology shifts.

Investments

The Alberta government is to invest $3.4 million annually into GovLab.ai for the next 5 years, ending in 2027. Funding is allocated by Alberta @ Work, through the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy. The GovLab.ai will create opportunities for intellectual property creation by local companies, leading to a royalty stream to be reinvested in the program. Profits from commercialization will be reinvested into GovLab.ai, leading to a self-sustaining service model as early as late 2023.

AltaML has committed $1 million toward the first year of operations. AltaML estimates that AI will yield approximately $100 million in benefits for Alberta over the next 5 years.

Mitacs is a Canadian non-profit national research organization that partners with academia, private industry and government to operate research and training programs in fields related to industrial and social innovation. Mitacs has committed funding to support job opportunities for post-secondary students.

Lab recruitment

The GovLab.ai lab will be operational by summer 2022 with 3 initial tenants, in addition to the Government of Alberta.

  • The lab will operate on a cohort basis with intakes of government staff and post-secondary interns every 4 months.
  • The first round of recruitment will open in summer 2022. Check back for more information.

Concepts and ideas

GovLab.ai will evaluate a proof of concept idea according to an agile methodology that will include:

  1. Viability screening: assessment of potential projects to determine whether viable, if supporting data is adequate and projects meaningfully support program delivery.
  2. Development: creation and testing of models to deliver proof of concepts, scaling to a production solution.
  3. Operationalization: implementation of models into to full service state.

With 4 total tenants of the lab, it is anticipated up to 8 ideas will go through this process every 4 months, though not all of them will be considered viable as proofs of concept.

  • Viable solutions will be operationalized and commercialized, leading to potentially significant economic impacts.
  • Projects viable for commercialization may require additional work beyond the experimentation conducted through GovLab.ai, which may introduce opportunities in the tech sector.
  • Under the agreement, AltaML will commercialize Government of Alberta products and return 20% toward lab operations.

Resources

A number of governments have begun adopting AI and ML, including, but are not limited to:

A dashboard by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provides insight into more than 700 AI policy initiatives from more than 60 countries.

Contact

Connect with the GovLab.ai lab:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2711 (outside Alberta, long distance charges apply)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

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