The Pulse: Jan. 26, 2023

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • 6°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 40 km/h gusting to 60. High 6. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit yellow for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (details)
  • 2-3: The Edmonton Oilers (27-18-4) were defeated by the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-30-3) in overtime on Jan. 25, ending the team's six-game winning streak. (details)

People socializing in the co-working space at Amii during an event

Commercializing AI about more than tech transfer, Amii execs say

By Karen Unland

Canada was the first country in the world to have an AI strategy, and Edmonton has been central to it through the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). But some critics say the strategy has focused too much on research and not enough on commercialization, leaving Canada acting as "just an R&D lab for foreign firms," as one observer put it.

Steph Enders, Amii's vice-president of product, disagrees that we're missing the boat on leveraging AI for economic development.

"I don't think the opportunity has passed us by," she told Episode 46 of Bloom. "I actually think we're incredibly well positioned for this opportunity, right now and in the future."

Commercialization is a big part of the second phase of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, and Amii is engaged in that work, Enders said.

The non-profit institute helped 74 industry partners with AI adoption last year, and "we're on track for that number to be vastly increased in this fiscal," she said. "To me, that shows that there really is a temperature change in companies from startups all the way to multinationals understanding that we have to grab a hold of this technology in order to be successful in the future."

One of those opportunities is a five-year collaboration with TELUS announced on Jan. 17. It will see the development of AI-based algorithms and techniques to help manage network infrastructure and identify risks.

"AI can be really helpful to predict equipment failure, high usage loads, and even elements of optimization," Enders said, drawing an analogy to work Amii has done with ISL Engineering on a water treatment plant in Drayton Valley.

It's too early to know what the TELUS collaboration will lead to, but to Enders, it is an example of commercialization that pertains to three important elements: knowledge, talent, and technology.

"I think sometimes people focus too much on just the tech transfer. And that's where we kind of get bogged down in those conversations of what technology was created, what IP was protected," she said. "It's really important work to do those things as well, and that's the focus of the partnership. But I don't want to lose track of the knowledge and talent transfer part of the possibility as well."

Continue reading

Headlines: Jan. 26, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton says trauma counselling wait times for sexual violence survivors are around 12-14 months, which are the worst they've ever been in Alberta. A 2020 study by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) found that 43% of Albertans, or 1.8 million people, have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. In 2022, AASAS presented data and a business case for more funding for sexual assault centres, which the province said it will review in coming months.
  • Indigenous high school students in Edmonton continue to be less likely to graduate within three years than non-Indigenous students. Annual education results show that 47% of students in Edmonton public schools who self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit (FNMI) completed high school on time, compared to more than 80% across all students. In Catholic schools, 67% of FNMI students completed high school on time. The rates are lower than the previous year but have been increasing over time.
  • A preliminary report from the Edmonton International Airport shows a major jump in passenger activity, with more than 5.8 million people arriving at or departing from the airport in 2022, up from around 2.8 million in 2021 when Canada still had significant travel restrictions. The number is still below the record-setting 8.1 million seen in 2019, however. The number of travellers between Canada and the United States was up 775% in 2022.
  • Postmedia announced plans to lay off 11% of its 650 journalists across Canada, a week after the company said it was experiencing "economic contraction" and revealed that a dozen Alberta community newspapers would become digital only. Lorne Motley, editor-in-chief at the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, is now regional editor-in-chief of several newspapers in the prairies, including the Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal.
  • Police seized 700 catalytic converters, large amounts of fentanyl and cocaine, and a gun from a business called A1 Scrap Metal Recycling Ltd. near 88 Street and 61 Avenue, which was under surveillance as part of a drug trafficking investigation in summer 2022. Three men and A1 Scrap Metal Recycling Ltd. are facing a variety of charges.
  • The Alberta Basketball Association announced that the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3x3 World Tour and Women's Series will happen in ICE District Plaza this July. The teams will compete for a spot at the 2024 Olympic Games. Edmonton was named the exclusive Canadian host for the 3x3 World Tour for the next three years after hosting events in 2018, 2019, and 2022.