The increasing diversification of our economy sees Alberta on the forefront of the world’s newest and most dynamic sector: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
What is AI and ML?
AI and ML systems encompass a very broad range of technologies, but at their core, they are programs that help automate daily tasks while displaying some behaviours associated with intelligence such as learning, planning, motion, and manipulation. No, this does not mean the robot revolution is coming. AI fits into your everyday life from Google algorithms to autopilot to the rules you put into your inbox to sort your email. On a larger, more industrial scale, AI and ML are used to increase operational efficiency, reduce human error, and enable the task force to move from repetitive tasks to more high-value work.
AI and ML in Alberta
Alberta is a hub for AI and ML in Canada. Our province has been fortunate to attract Google’s Deep Mind in 2017, to be the site of the Alberta Machine Learning Institute (Amli), and to be part of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy designed to grow Canada’s AI ecosystem.
AI and ML post-secondary education
Students interested in pursuing this growing sector have plenty of options.
The University of Alberta hosts world-leading AI and ML research and offers 60 BSc programs in 39 subject areas (including computer science).
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) issues certificates (non-credit) to students that complete six core courses of the Data Science program. Diploma programs are available through NAIT’s School of Applied Sciences and Technology.
The University of Calgary offers a BSc in software engineering. Athabasca University offers a Master of Science in Information Systems, and Bow Valley College has diploma programs in information technology systems and in software development.
Many paths to the same goal
Remember, the definitions and applications of AI and ML are very broad. This means that there are many different ways to carve out a career path in this sphere. Pretty much any interest can be related back to AI and ML: technical writing, researching, marketing, sales, analytics, software engineering, even interior design that focuses on office/production facilities for the tech industry.
AI and ML have been with us for decades, but with Alberta’s investments into the industry and the rapid growth of digital technology, now is a great time to explore the exciting careers to be had in this field.