Large corporations are well aware that artificial intelligence (AI) can positively transform a business. They are now donating funding – no strings attached – to a program that will provide artificial intelligence startups with $200,000 plus access to technology, mentorship, and education.

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AI is already powering algorithms to help Netflix Inc. predict what a user will want to watch next, to help doctors diagnose diseases, and to aid autonomous vehicles in deciding how to react to objects in their paths.

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Don Walker, CEO of Magna, is particularly interested in the latter. He said the company is contributing to NextAI because maintaining Canada’s status as a leader in the field benefits not just his company, but the entire economy. Companies investing are making no agreements with, nor taking any ownership of, those accessing funds. They will, however, provide real-world problems for those startups to tackle.

The most important goal of this project, however, is to prevent brain drain to the US of our home-grown Canadian experts. To date, most have moved South, but there is hope that this fund, and some well-thought-out public policy, may be able to accomplish that.

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