CM Archive
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Ottawa, Science Council of Canada, c1983.
Distributed by Science Council of Canada, 100 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, ON, K1P 5M1.
75pp, paper, free.
ISBN 0-662-12716-1.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by W. F. Benson.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

A Workshop on Artificial Intelligence is an interesting look at what the AI researchers of Canada are concerned about. The report is a summary of a two-day workshop hosted by the Science Council of Canada in January 1983 to discuss the future of AI development. It has been expanded upon to give a historical context so that those not actively involved in the field can still read the report and understand the concerns. The conference was designed to include representatives of all interested groups including universities, government departments, and private companies.

The report, while interesting, clearly reveals a number of major flaws in Canada's research community. While a great deal of background is given throughout the report on what various AI research groups have done, nothing was said about what they are presently, specifically working on. The summation of the conference clearly indicated that most of the participants were in agreement that extra research funding was needed. It seems specious to request extra funding without justifying present expenditure with the exception of the much-repeated statement, "They will get ahead of us."

The other interesting fact evident from the report was that with the exception of three people from British Columbia and two from Nova Scotia, all the other participants at the conference were from Ontario and Quebec. I found it interesting that there is so little AI research being done outside of Ontario and Quebec.

That government should play a role in basic research and development is an assumption that few would argue against. This conference tried to develop guidelines for that role. Whether it was a success or not will only be seen by what directions Ottawa takes in the next several years. One hopes future conferences will be more specific about present-day research and include a wider range of participants.

W. F. Benson, Golden S. S., Golden, BC.
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