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Episode 7: What makes Canada's approach to artificial intelligence unique?

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

The Ask AI interview with Michael Karlin, Senior Advisor at Treasury Board of Canada / Office of the CIO

Special thanks to Microsoft Canada and Cinchy for sponsoring the third series of the Ask AI podcast and supporting greater awareness of artificial intelligence in Canada. All of our episodes and 100s of AI profiles are also available from our chatbot, generously sponsored by Toronto’s Ada Support.

In Canada, we're at the start of an incredibly important national conversation about how to best apply artificial intelligence within our businesses, public sector, and society. This is evident not only in the sheer volume of media stories about AI, but also in the quality of discourse we're hearing within our public institutions.

As might be expected, scientific and research organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research have lead the way, but we’re now starting to hear new voices emerge from a much wider set of public institutions.

Take for example the Office of the CIO of Canada (OCIO) which sits within Treasury. Their mandate is to provide "strategic direction in information management, information technology, security, privacy and access to information in Canada".

It is here that we find Michael Karlin, a Senior Advisor within the OCIO whose recent work has taken an almost startup-like approach in order to widen and deepen the national conversation about artificial intelligence.

This episode of the Ask AI Podcast shares the story of how Michael took a very "startup" approach to tackle one the biggest Governmental policy and ethical issues of our time.

If you thought you understood how things work in Ottawa this interview may be a bit of an eye-opener!

“There’s an incredible amount of opportunity to offer citizens profound service improvements using AI technology, and there are also issues that we could over-step, so in order to keep ourselves honest, it’s important that the public keep engaged and keep asking us the hard questions.” - Michael Karlin, Canada's Office of Canada's CIO

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Episode highlights

  • Michael’s famous Google Doc: 3 min 35 secs

  • Prospects for a community approach to policy: 9 mins 26 secs

  • Michael’s perspective on ethics in AI: 13 mins 31 secs

  • How Michael stays up-to-date in AI: 15 mins 37 secs

  • AI as a dark horse issue in public policy: 18 mins 45 secs

Episode links

Episode credits

Sponsors: Microsoft Canada and Cinchy Chatbot partner: Ada Support Executive Producer: Chris McLellan Host: Jaxson Khan Original music: Mike LeTourneau

About Ask AI

Ask AI is a volunteer project that’s increasing awareness and understanding of Canada’s artificial intelligence sector. Our projects include a popular podcast, AI Explainer videos, and live events. To learn more about sponsorship and volunteering please contact us or ask Emily, our chatbot.

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