(L-R) CIFAR President & CEO Dr. Alan Bernstein, Head, Pan-Canadian AI Strategy Dr. Elissa Strome, & Head, Borealis AI Dr. Foteini Agrafioti

Today, the RBC Foundation announced it will donate $1-million dollars over three years to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). The gift will support research and initiatives aimed at furthering the study of ethical artificial intelligence (AI) practices. 

RBC CEO, Dave McKay, made the announcement, in conjunction with CIFAR president and CEO, DrAlan Bernstein, at the official launch of Borealis AI’s Montreal research centre. CIFAR is currently leading the country’s Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Borealis AI will collaborate closely with CIFAR in an advisory capacity on key aspects of the strategy, with a particular focus on global thought leadership around the ethical implications of AI advancements.

The investment will help fund initiatives like CIFAR’s Catalyst Grants, which award up to $100,000 per year for two years to support collaborations in novel areas of AI exploration between researchers at any Canadian institution. Two of these awards will be explicitly focused on research in areas like privacy, accountability, transparency and bias in machine learning.

The money will also go toward delivering interdisciplinary AI research workshops in fields such as transportation, environmental science, public health, and energy, while the remainder will support ongoing training opportunities in the social implications of AI, including equity, diversity and inclusion.

Ethical AI is no longer a peripheral topic within the community. As scientific successes in fields like deep learning, computer vision and natural language processing continue to grow, the broad-ranging social impact of these technologies cannot be divorced from their applications and need to be researched with the same academic rigour.

RBC and Borealis AI are dedicated to the shared sense of responsibility between diverse research communities dedicated to the proliferation of responsible technologies. With CIFAR as a partner, we are confident we’ll exceed these goals.