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DeepLearni.ng’s Stephen Piron on Symbiotic AI and New Partnership with Vector Institute

AI continues to shine in Toronto as another company joins the ranks of the esteemed Vector Institute.

DeepLearni.ng announced an official partnership with Vector today as the two Toronto-based AI organizations look to develop the scene even more within the friendly confines of Canada’s largest city.

The decision to join was based on DeepLearni.ng co-founder Stephen Piron’s wishes to give back to the community that has provided the AI scene so much. Modern AI was essentially founded in Toronto at the University of Toronto, and Vector’s chief scientific advisor, Geoffrey Hinton, is one of the field’s pioneers.

“It’s a big fierce competitive world, and we have to get together and further this common goal,” said Piron, who is also DeepLearni.ng’s co-CEO. “This means institutions and big companies, as well as those more nimble companies doing more of that cutting-edge stuff.”

“We don’t know what these AI companies in the future may look like, so we’re all kind of inventing it together,” he added.

The Vector Institute is a relatively new organization, only being founded in 2017, but it has received an incredible amount of support from both the government as well as industry peers and partners like Shopify, NVIDIA and Google. One of the Institute’s key goals is to work with partners and become one of the world’s leading producers of graduates with expertise in both machine and deep learning.

The more partnerships like these that exist, the more AI within Toronto and Canada begins to feel like a community as opposed to a competition.

“AI needs data, and one place where’s there’s a lot of data is these big corporations,” explains Piron. Along with the mentioned big fish above, Vector calls huge financial institutions like RBC and Scotiabank partners, along with Uber, Accenture and Thomson Reuters.

“Smaller companies like us have to work together with them,” continues Piron. “But they’re all kind of worried about a small company displacing them in this classic disruptor model, but we need the data and they need our expertise, so it’s more symbiotic.”

Piron discussed how that even though DeepLearni.ng may be a smaller partner with Vector, they play an important role in the overall AI ecosystem in Toronto and Canada, especially when it comes to working with those kinds of huge data troves.

“The more innovative work that small companies can do for big corporations, the more those big corporations will invest,” says Piron. “And the more value they can see in their data, the more they will invest in storing that data. They’ll give back to universities and Vector, who will produce awesome grads and then we can hire them, and then it’s like a cycle.”

“Canadian start-up and scale-up companies like DeepLearni.ng have an important role to play in building Canada’s AI ecosystem,” said Darin Graham, the Vector Institute’s Industry Innovation VP. “As a Bronze-level sponsor of the Vector Institute, DeepLearni.ng will support Vector’s mission to grow Canada’s pool of world-class talent in machine learning and deep learning, and advise Vector on opportunities to collaborate and create opportunities for start-ups and scale-ups. In turn, this will foster economic growth by ensuring Canadian industry and institutions have the people, skills, and resources to be best in class at the use of AI.”

Other bronze-level sponsors partners with Vector include smaller AI organizations like Thalmic Labs, Layer 6 and Integrate.ai.

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