Startup Edmonton Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Startup Community

At the Mayor's State of the City address last month, we heard a lot about companies in Edmonton that are embracing technology to scale traditional industries and business models. Mayor Iveson cited Jobber, a member and Launch Party alumni company, as one of the local technology companies that is growing at an incredible rate and doing so by applying technology to optimize thousands of small businesses around the world, from landscaping to appliance repair and almost any service industry in between. 

Here at Startup Edmonton, I hear a lot every day about machine intelligence and the opportunities for Edmonton to take a leading role in the way these technologies are integrated into businesses of all sizes and in all industries. We have leading researchers and students at Amii at the University of Alberta, but we also have startup and technology communities that are hungry to learn and implement these research principles into their products & projects.

The intersection of research and community activation around machine intelligence is an exciting opportunity we're poised to explore now and in the coming years. 

There are many next steps to support the already incredible work of our machine intelligence researchers in Edmonton. These are a few ways Startup Edmonton lends a hand & how we plan to continue to take action on Mayor Iveson's request:

  • Engage with students throughout their academic careers to showcase the variety of study and work options available in Edmonton! 
  • Encourage more companies to explore technology as part of the solution for their customers or internal teams. The hardest part about applying technology isn't sourcing the solution, it's identifying the problem to solve. 
  • Working with our friends in the machine intelligence community to get them the right tools and supports to succeed at the right time - programs like Launch Party, Student Developer Conference, and Preflight; sharing successes with a wider audience; and mentorship. 

You can join in by learning more about some of the awesome work being done by top technical talent trained here in Edmonton. Check out Jon Russell's article from TechCrunch and learn more about how a machine mastering the game of Go can impact industry in the very near future. AlphaGo, was developed by the team at Google DeepMind led by UAlberta Ph.D. grad David Silver and former UAlberta postdoctorate fellow Aja Huang. 


Recommended Reading: After beating the world’s elite Go players, Google’s AlphaGo AI is retiring

Google’s AlphaGo — the AI developed to tackle the world’s most demanding strategy game — is stepping down from competitive matches after defeating the world’s best talent. The latest to succumb is Go’s top-ranked player, Ke Jie, who lost 3-0 in a series hosted in China this week.

The AI, developed by London-based DeepMind, which was acquired by Google for around $500 million in 2014also overcome a team of five top players during a week of matches. AlphaGo first drew headlines last year when it beat former Go world champion Lee Sedol, and the China event took things to the next level with matches against 19-year-old Jie, and doubles with and against other top Go pros.


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