October 3, 2022

Artificial Intelligence is here, and it’s growing (SDG 8 & SDG 9)

You may not think about it, but artificial intelligence impacts our lives every day. But what is AI, anyways? It’s not all robots and self-driving cars. The theories of AI and Big Data allow businesses, organizations, and government to analyze huge data sets to identify patterns, trends, and other information that can help them make better decisions.

AI is here, and it’s growing (hastened in many ways by the pandemic). In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported last year that 52% of companies accelerated their AI adoption plans because of the COVID pandemic. Eight-six percent said that AI (once considered science-fiction) was becoming a mainstream technology at their company in 2021. That represents a huge transformation in business, labour, and skills.

Did you know that colleges and institutes offer almost 50 programs in AI, Big Data, data analytics, and machine learning in a range of stackable microcredentials, diplomas, certificates, and specialized post-graduate degrees? These programs ensures that new opportunities to upgrade or reskill are available to all learners, and that the businesses can find qualified workers to meet sector demand.

  • At Cégep de Sainte-Foy, the Technical Specialization in Artificial Intelligence teaches learners to perform technical tasks related to AI like preparing and processing data, implementing an AI method, and preparing AI solutions for production. This program was developed jointly with Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne and is taught fully online by both institutions.
  • At NorQuest College, the Machine Learning Analyst diploma program focuses on fundamental skills in AI and machine learning, like data analytics and computer programming and explores strategies to develop competitive business solutions. This flexible, industry-aligned program is offered through both in-person and hyflex delivery and includes an opportunity for work-integrated learning.
  • At Saskatchewan PolytechnicArtificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is a post-graduate certificate that prepares students to work in data analysis and machine learning focusing on topics like cost and benefit estimation for process change and ethical issues surrounding big data.
  • The Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Suite of courses at Yukon University is an introduction to the science behind AI systems, key definitions, processes, techniques, AI ethics, and more. This series of microcredentials is offered in partnership with Ed2go and takes only 48 hours to complete!
  • At Nova Scotia Community CollegeBusiness Intelligence and Analytics prepares students to manage, mine, and filter big data and apply analytical techniques in support of critical business decision-making. This program is offered in a blended in-person and online delivery model.
  • At BCIT, Business Information Technology Management (with an option in Artificial Intelligence Management) trains workers for positions managing AI, machine learning, and business intelligence solutions. The program focuses on things like AI business models, AI ethics, machine learning for business, and natural language processing.
  • At Assiniboine Community Collegefour microcredentials in AI machine learning, blockchain and the cloud help students better understand the technologies shaping the way contemporary businesses operate. Each microcredential is self-paced and takes no more than six weeks to complete.

But skills are only part of our new AI landscape. There’s also huge potential for growth through innovative business solutions. Some estimates predict that AI could add almost $16 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

SDG 9 (Industry, innovation, and infrastructure) challenges us to do more to upgrade and retrofit industries to make them sustainable and foster innovation. Colleges and institutes help business and industry partners tap into the potential of new technologies through applied research and with specialized centres of excellence.

The AI landscape is changing our understanding of what is possible, and colleges and institutes are key players in that.

Read more: While the world of technology opens access and opportunity for us all, it also comes with the requirement to remain vigilant. Protecting networks, information, systems, and infrastructure is now an essential part of keeping all Canadians and Canadian businesses safe.