Google invests $500,000 in Actua to develop AI education programs across Canada

Google has announced a grant of $500,000 to Actua, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization, to develop an artificial intelligence curriculum for high school students across the country.

A May 10th press release said the new program will look at existing high school programs to identify gaps and Actua will then “work with a team of AI experts to develop new content that covers basic principles of AI.”

The new program will look at how to understand AI and “how it will influence future careers beyond just computer science,” the release said.” The pilot year of the program will begin this year and onto 2020, the release noted.

Actua estimates the program will reach up to 15,000 students across the country.

“We are very pleased to be working with Google on such an important initiative to equip Canadian students with the opportunity to learn the basic building blocks of computer science and AI fundamentals,” Actua’s CEO Jennifer Flanagan, said in the release. “With this funding, Actua will be integrating AI lessons across multiple subjects and grades, both in classrooms and through outreach activities ensuring students have a strong foundation in AI as they head towards post-secondary paths and careers.”

The grant is specific to Actua’s Codemakers program, which Google has invested in 2015 to help deliver digital skill-building experiences to youths across Canada.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains was at the event to acknowledge the investment and to speak towards promoting education in STEM.

“When we skills development in areas of STEM, we can build a nation of innovators and digital economy that works for everyone. Artificial Intelligence represents the single largest transformative technology in the world and a unique economic opportunity,” Bains said.