Canada's Original Think Tank

November 8, 2017 — Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Social and Economic Impacts

November 8, 2017 — Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Social and Economic Impacts

November 8, 2017 — Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Social and Economic Impacts

The Open Caucus, a forum for discussion on issues of national importance, was first established in 2014 when Senate Liberals opened their Caucus doors to the public on Wednesday mornings. The Open Caucus is now co-sponsored by the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and the Independent Senate Liberals. This non-partisan collaboration brings together two groups representing the majority of the Senate’s current membership.

This non-partisan discussion is open to all Members of Parliament, Senators, parliamentary staff, media, and the public.

Rapid developments in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have created the conditions for a new industrial revolution. These technological advancements present opportunities for considerable economic growth, while also having the potential to fundamentally change how society is structured and operates. The possibility exists for innovative technologies to exasperate social and economic inequalities. Forecasts have projected that upwards to 50% of current jobs will be impacted by robotics and AI spanning across all sectors. Repetitive jobs have already been replaced by automation. Although new jobs have emerged, not everyone will be able to benefit from these specialized professions.

For Canada to properly harness its potential, it is imperative that we prepare for the policy, legal, and ethical challenges that are raised by the advancements of robotics, AI, and machine learning. Considering that we are living amid this technological revolution we ask: what steps must be taken to ensure that Canada capitalizes on the advantages of robotics and AI while mitigating the adverse effects?

Panelists included:

  • Kristen Thomasen: Professor of Law, Robotics & Society at the University of Windsor where she focuses on the legal, social and ethical implications of robotics and AI.
  • Sean Mullin: Founding Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. Economist, public policy expert, and commentator on impacts of technological advancements.
  • Nicolas Chapados: Co-Founder Imagia, Chief Scientific Officer of Element AI
  • Goldie Nejat: Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society, Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto

Our discussion is not only open to all parliamentarians, but also to all Canadians, who are welcome to attend in person or follow along and contribute via social media at @LibSenate on Twitter.

This meeting took place:

Wednesday November 8th, 2017
9:15 am – 11:15 am
Room 160S, Centre Block


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