Significance of AI in the Ocean Sector

Jennifer LaPlante, Chief Growth and Investment Officer, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

This past week the OSC had the opportunity to share an announcement of nearly $20 million in AI projects led by companies across seven provinces. As part of the Pan Canadian AI Strategy, we are striving to increase the use and adoption of AI in the ocean sector. The announcement took place at the first annual All In AI Conference, providing the opportunity to showcase five different ocean ventures named in the list of the Top 100 AI start-ups in Canada. This week has highlighted the opportunity we have to continue the momentum to grow ocean AI in Canada.

With the increased demonstration of and access to ChatGPT, Dall·e, Midjourney, and countless other AI products, the awareness of AI grows by day. These tools have opened the door for all of us to explore AI across our daily activities. Nevertheless, it remains a demanding journey for companies to navigate how to leverage AI for both commercial activities and operational optimization. Developing and building your own artificial intelligence solutions requires a significant volume of data, domain expertise to understand and label that data, technological ability to understand the algorithms that may be the possible recipes to create usable models, and the full technology suite of talent and infrastructure to deploy and maintain new AI solutions. Not every company is positioned to do this on their own. We are striving to support our members on this journey.

Over the coming year we will be working to help the sector better understand and articulate the challenges in developing and benefiting from AI. This includes the creation of an Ocean AI Strategy Steering Committee to ensure we work with members to better understand the barriers to AI comprehension and adoption. We are partnering with a range of organizations, such as AI research institutes to garner access to leading AI expertise to support ocean challenges. Lastly, access to quality and usable data has been previously identified as a real barrier for the ocean sector to build more robust and usable AI. As such, all projects within our AI program and Phase 2 are required to provide high level details about the data created within the projects. By supporting the access to high level details of a range of ocean related data, OSC members are able to potential share or sell their data, enabling others to benefit and create usable AI tools or other solutions.

Stay tuned for upcoming sessions about AI, data and AI talent, as we build out support to drive Canada’s leadership in Ocean AI.