Intro to AI for Policymakers: Understanding the shift

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy Telehealth Canada
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An overview of key AI concepts, their cross-cutting policy implications, and potential applications to government services and operations.

Prepared as background reading participants at the March 2018 AI + Public Policy conference, this report explores the origins of AI, AI’s present-day capabilities, the challenges and opportunities associated with these technological advances, and their application to public life and public policy. It is the first in a series produced by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship on the public policy implications of AI.

Read this report to help you:

Understand the core technical concepts in artificial intelligence

Gain insight into the cross-cutting policy implications and potential applications to government services and operations.



Artificial Intelligence (AI) has benefited from a number of recent technological advances, from increases in processing power to decreases in battery costs, and the explosion of available data.

The current speed of development and adoption of AI poses challenges to policymakers seeking to create regulations, use AI applications to improve government operations and service delivery, and better understand and respond to the socioeconomic impacts.

Innovations such as autonomous vehicles are already challenging traditional regulatory regimes and planning in transit, infrastructure, and public safety. Natural language processing and predictive algorithms are already operating inside everyday technology in our homes and workplaces.

To date, the majority of Canadian policy attention and investment has focused on building talent, supporting research, and encouraging the development of commercial AI applications.

However, AI is experiencing a renewed prominence in public consciousness and public life, demanding policy responses beyond those focused on research and innovation.

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