Spark

From neuroscience to neural nets: Canadian researchers on the vanguard of AI

Canada has become a centre for AI research thanks work being done here on neural networks, which use some of the ideas from neuroscience to help computers learn. One of the researchers behind these systems is Université de Montreal professor, Yoshua Bengio. In a sit-down interview, Bengio explains how the research developed, where it is going, and some of the dangers AI could pose.

Montreal AI 'star' explains progress and perils of deep-learning research

Computer Science professor Yoshua Bengio poses at his home in Montreal, Saturday, November 19, 2016. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
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This story was originally published on April 19, 2019.

Canada has become a world leader in artificial intelligence research, especially in the development of artificial neural networks. These are computer systems that use a series of connected machine learning algorithms, similar to how neurons work in the human brain.

There is major AI research being done in Edmonton at the University of Alberta, at the University of Toronto, where Geoffrey Hinton teaches, and at the Université de Montreal, where its AI research is led by Yoshua Bengio.

This year, Bengio and Hinton, along with New York University professor Yann LeCun, were awarded the Turing Award, which some call "the Nobel Prize of computing".

While in Toronto for a conference on AI ethics, Bengio spoke to Spark host Nora Young about the progress of AI research, its roots in neuroscience, and the dangers of letting the tech develop unchecked.

Computer scientist and Turing Award winner Yoshua Bengio explains how the neurosciences and cognitive sciences are helping have an impact on AI development. 1:24

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