Takeovers In Canadian AI Space Highlight Importance Of Rapidly Growing Industry

Photo: Takeovers In Canadian AI Space Highlight Importance Of Rapidly Growing Industry

This year started with a bang in the Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector, with US company Inspirata coming north to scoop up Toronto-based Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Inc. (AIM).

The deal is aimed at broadening the use of AI in Inspitata's data gathering efforts, which are focused on cancer research. AIM has been working for more than 30 years to develop novel uses for AI in medical Natural Language Processing (NLP), which could help doctors access data at a level never before possible.

NLP is a form of AI that works to understand documents that are created without any sort of format, which is very common in the medical field.

While NLP's potential uses are vast, the deal that just went down could bring together cancer data from the last few decades, with minimal need for human assistance. With an estimated 60% of existing cancer documents in a form that would be labor intensive to understand otherwise, this could be the start of some very big things in cancer research.

Finding Big Data

AI has no problem with analyzing online shopping habits, or sifting through posts on social media. But some of the most important contributions that AI could make are in the field of medicine, which has resisted standardization when it comes to record keeping.

Not only will every hospital or health system have its own ways of formatting information, but many medical records are written on the fly, and may not use cohesive terminology across the board. This creates a situation where AI algos could play a big role in finding patterns in cancer treatments, but they are unable to 'see' the data clearly.

Enter NLP, and the ability for a very specific kind of AI to translate mountains of raw data into a format that other AI algos can deal with. This will help researchers to combine meta analysis with new Machine Learning technology that can sort and organize a fantastic amount of data.

AIM was purpose built to use informatics to work towards more effective cancer treatment, and it looks like AI is finally at a point where it can take advantage of their decades of diligent efforts.

A Growing Area

While AIM was the one of the most recent AI takeovers in Canada, last November saw another Canadian AI company change hands. Acquisio was purchased by the Nasdaq listed Web.com Group, from two private entities, Tandem Expansion Fund, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and TSX listed Yellow Pages Digital & Media Solutions Limited.

The price wasn't disclosed, but Acquisio's industry leading marketing algos have a lot of potential to be scaled up with a company like the Web.com Group at the helm. With such a variety of uses for AI, it isn't hard to see why places like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are becoming world leading destinations for startups, and acquisitions.

The Cantech Investment Conference will feature AI companies like Venzee Inc., as well as numerous other industry leaders in the fields of Blockchain development, crypto mining, Machine Learning, VR/AR tech, and drones. Healthcare innovators Microbix Biosystems, Wellness Lifestyles Inc. and Victory Square Technologies will also be there to interface with investors, and the public at large.

The conference is coming up fast, and on January 31st, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, this year's Cantech Investment Conference will begin. It isn't too late to register, and receive a discount on your admission!