Radical Reads

18 months of rapid AI adoption – What’s next?

By Leah Morris, Senior Director, Velocity Program


Image Source: Smith School of Business, Queen’s University 

In the early days of the pandemic, IBM’s CEO, Arvind Krishna stated bluntly that “every company will become an AI company. Not because they can, but because they must.” Few could predict the timeframe in which the prescience of that statement would be proven out. Spurred on by the unique challenges of the pandemic, businesses have found themselves reorienting their operations around AI and data insights. This week, Harvard Business Review outlined the benefits accrued from AI adoption over the last 18 months.

Radical Reads has documented this same acceleration of AI adoption across many facets of the economy: alleviating skills shortagesboosting productivitydelivering new products and services, and addressing supply chain issues. We have also seen business leaders increasingly understanding the power and potential of AI and AI accentuating existing corporate culture.

A lack of AI capabilities will limit any company’s ability to keep pace with advancements and participate in the novel business models emerging from this era of rapid innovation. AI fuels startups and helps established companies manage disruption. No matter the business, the lessons learned from the last year-and-a-half will spur new economic opportunities.

AI News This Week

  • Canada’s red-hot technology sector smashes venture-capital funding record set in dot-com bubble   (The Globe and Mail – subscription required)

    This week, the Globe and Mail reported 427 companies had raised a record-breaking  $10.92-billion in venture capital in 2021. The previous peak coincided with the Internet bubble, when Canadian companies raised $6.71-billion in 2000, equal to $10-billion today. The record funding levels are partly due to heightened investor interest in technology and the maturing of Canada’s technology sector. Canada, however, still lags far behind its innovation hub counterparts, with the Toronto region ranking last on dollars raised-per-technical employee. In 2020 approximately $4,300 was raised per tech worker in the Toronto region, approximately 1/30th the $130,000 per tech worker raised in the Bay Area.

  • DeepMind’s AI predicts almost exactly when and where it’s going to rain   (MIT Technology Review)

    London-based AI firm DeepMind developed a deep learning tool that accurately predicts rain within 1 to 2 hours. The algorithm fills a gap in localized short-term weather forecasting known as ‘nowcasting.’ Traditional forecasting techniques use massive computer simulations of atmospheric physics. These work well for longer-term forecasting but are less good at predicting weather within hours. Radical Ventures portfolio company ClimateAi is applying deep learning methods to these computer simulations to make better weather and climate predictions over a longer period: starting at two weeks and stretching to 10 years.

  • AI may predict the next virus to jump from animals to humans  (ScienceDaily)

    A new study suggests that machine learning using viral genomes may predict the likelihood that any animal-infecting virus will infect humans, given biologically relevant exposure. Better predictions could help health officials gauge risk and prioritize vaccine development. The University of Glasgow researchers built their ML model by training it on a database of 860+ zoonotic viruses. The model identified a virus’ genomic patterns and its risk of human infection.

  • Franklin & House colleagues introduce bi-partisan bill to support American businesses in the creation of global standards for AI   (US House of Representatives press release)

    US Representative Scott Franklin (R–Fla.) and others introduced a bill to provide government grants to small businesses and help them participate in “setting global AI standards.” The proposed grant program would help early AI companies take part in international AI standardization efforts. Grants would cover the costs for research skill development, proposals, and meetings. It builds on legislation introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) earlier this year.

  • Our home on native land  (Native Land)

    In light of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, you can use Native Land Digital’s interactive map to identify what Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages exist on the land where you live. Additionally, Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty reported for IndigiNews on experts and programs working to “lift barriers for Indigenous Peoples” in BC’s booming tech industry.

Radical Reads is edited by Leah Morris (Senior Director, Velocity Program, Radical Ventures).