The godfather of artificial intelligence is a Torontonian

The godfather of artificial intelligence is a Torontonian

Geoffrey Hinton and the Vector Institute are planning to make Toronto the AI capital of the world

The team behind U of T's Vector Institute, including Geoffrey Hinton (back row, centre) Photograph courtesy of Vector

The masterminds in charge of AI research at Apple and Facebook have one thing in common: they studied under U of T professor Geoffrey Hinton, a.k.a. the Godfather of Machine Learning. He’s the guy who developed neural networks that allow computers to mimic a brain and learn like a human. Now, Hinton is helping make sure his future ­students don’t have to flee to the States to do pioneering work. He’s in charge of the Vector Institute, a U of T–affiliated organization that will apply AI to a range of fields, including finance, construction and health care. Vector has snagged $100 million in government funding, plus another $80 million from companies like Google, Uber and Air Canada. Vector’s existence is the reason Google and Uber have created AI labs in Toronto—the institute only accepted inter­national funding if its investors set up shop north of the border.

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