In the previous blog of this series, we saw how Canada is becoming a thriving ecosystem for AI and ML in terms of prospects. Be it the private sector or foreign investment scope, Canada has a lot to offer in terms of technological leadership.
In this blog, we will try to highlight the socio-economic impact of AI in the Canadian region.
With the vast transformation potential of AI technologies that have come to light in recent years, countries globally are inevitably trying to become tech leaders. And there are proven facts suggesting AI will be one of the biggest economic drivers of the current times.
Worldwide AI spending reach 78 billion dollars by 2022, creating a worldwide business value of US$3.9 trillion.
Though some small groups and institutions help in early research in the AI space. Canada’s current efforts require full potential if it wants to lead in an AI-driven world.
Due to its transformative potential, not many Canadian businesses are investing in AI. The ones that do have a hard time moving past the experimentation phase to avail its actual value.
Compulsions to Invest in Artificial Intelligence
The potential of AI and the human capacity to understand it needs exploring. Any country and its corporations need to invest in AI technologies even if they are not using AI generally. It helps establish the essential economic and social framework for their development.
Canada’s AI imperative - Start, Scale, Succeed.
AI adoption has a powerful impact on the Canadian economy and how society operates in the future.  Apparently, for the government and entrepreneurs, it is a one-time process change exercise. Thus, through focused use, AI becomes a vital tool addressing society's deep-rooted challenges.
AI enables to achieve a healthy population as it is utilized to forecast and address pandemic outbreaks through the analysis of meteorological, economic, geographic, population, and other mobility data.
AI’s predictive power could also help better moldings of future events, such as the effects of climate change. It helps with better prediction and scenario planning to tackle such problems in the best possible way.
Another example is to address food shortages due to weather changes, which are handled through AI-augmented decision-making to optimize agricultural returns.
Challenges for AI Adoption in the Canadian Market
As any new technology takes time to get accepted and approved by users, so does AI. There can be several factors affecting the adoption of AI in the Canadian financial forum. Several citizens and company surveys point out the following factors that challenge the acceptance of AI.
Trust Issues Hamper Usage
Falling prey to a wrong strategic decision based on AI recommendations is the biggest fear among early adopters. There are major organizational concerns about adapting and using AI. Then there are concerns of cybersecurity breaches and non-specified legal responsibility for decisions made by AI systems.
Talking about concerns also brings up unintentional repercussions generated from AI-powered decisions by both businesses and consumers.
In a survey of over 1,000 Canadians, only 4% responded that they were confident explaining what AI was and how it worked. 86% said they currently don’t use their AI-powered tools and devices at work and at home, and 50 % did not think they would in the next five years.
One-third of Canadians believed they would never use AI-powered tools or devices in their work lives. Almost a quarter said the same about their personal lives. Where 76 % of Canadians own a smartphone and use Google Maps or VAs like iPhone’s Siri these numbers should be much higher.
It shows a disconnect between what they think and know about AI and prevents businesses and consumers from understanding its benefits.
Unfamiliarity Towards What is on Offer
Businesses may hesitate to release investments when they seem unaware of what is on offer. There is a disconnect between companies supplying AI services and their consumers. Many businesses may not understand what they can achieve with AI tools. And those that do understand may not know where to look for solutions.
68% of early adopters reported less or modest acquittance when selecting AI technologies and their suppliers. Here AI service providers are also lagging in raising awareness regarding the value of their offerings.
A study found that talent gaps in product management, sales, marketing, and BD and the skills required for the transition from a startup to market success are a constant concern for Canadian technology firms. 
Diagnosing the Demand Gap
Research and startups are not sufficient to make Canada a global leader. To reach this goal, they need a healthy AI ecosystem, including strong business and consumer demand for AI. - deloitte.com
Technologies such as AI change the way we live and work. Canada has the potential to lead in new spaces and share Canadian values with the world. Taking a role as a global leader requires Canadian business leaders to act and establish a world-class AI ecosystem first. Businesses that don’t use AI, need to adopt it, and those already using it need to scale up their deployment. Acting locally to close the AI demand gap is the only way to lead globally in the AI sector. 
The Adopters' VS Non-adopters
71% of Canadian businesses did not make use of AI till 2019. 83% of adopters agreed AI will have a huge impact on their industry over the next decade.
62% adopters agreed Canada needs to be a global leader in AI. Also, 70% of them agreed there was a lot of hype around AI.
1 out of 10 non-adopters planned to use AI over the next five years. Out of this half of the businesses struggled to see how AI could add value to their businesses. More than 50% agreed Canada needs to be a global leader in AI.
Undoubtedly, Canada has the potential and the resources to become a global AI leader but there are certain factors holding back the economy against smooth and quick AI adoption in all sectors.
We discussed some of the decisive elements in this blog like:
Trust Issues that hinder the adoption of new technologies like AI in the Canadian economy.
The process of understanding what benefits AI can bring to any business.
Lack of proper understanding of the concepts.
There is inability to comprehend what is on offer through various AI tools for any business to grow.
In the upcoming blogs, we will discuss how AI can be adapted and implemented smoothly in the Canadian landscape. To know how AI is altering the Canadian economy currently, read the first blog of the series here.
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