- LG Electronics announced Wednesday that it will open an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in Toronto drawing on local academics and startups, including a five-year, multi-million-dollar partnership with the University of Toronto.
- The Canadian lab, an extension of LG's research center in Santa Clara, CA, will further the company's research into machine learning and its applications in home appliances, vehicles and smartphones.
- "Early implementations of AI in connected devices today are setting the stage for tomorrow's smart cities, smart homes, smart businesses and smart devices, all with capabilities that no one has even dreamed of yet," said LG Electronics President I.P. Park in a statement.
LG joins a flurry of tech companies embracing Toronto. This spring, Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation company of Google parent Alphabet, said it would begin testing in the city. Samsung Electronics said in May it would start its own AI lab, and Bloomberg reported last month that tech incubator MaRS Discovery District would start a second location in the city because of high demand. It also remains on the short list for Amazon's HQ2.
In CBRE Group's annual ranking of tech talent markets in North America, Toronto came in fourth, up from sixth place the previous year. The group also found that the city was the fastest growing tech talent market, adding 28,900 industry jobs in 2017.
Attracting top tech talent not only gives Toronto a thriving industry, but also means the city is in position to take advantage of the smart cities innovations that are created. Being a testing ground for Sidewalk Labs — which will launch a smaller "test city" of sorts with innovations including connected cars and a fossil-fuel-free grid — is also a significant step for Toronto, since it can see first-hand how the technology works and how to integrate it into the city at large.
AI holds tremendous promise for smart cities projects; researchers at Cambridge University in England used AI to teach an autonomous vehicle to stay in its lane in just 20 minutes. Maryland has invested more than $50 million in a system that uses AI to control traffic signals and cities like Chattanooga, TN have even applied AI to electricity grids to better deploy power for its residents.