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RBC Foundation will donate $1 million over the next three years to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) to support the study of ethical artificial intelligence (AI), Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced Tuesday.

CIFAR will work with Borealis AI, an RBC institute for research, to deliver key aspects of the strategy, RBC says.

“The wide-spread adoption of AI means research on responsible and ethical AI practices is extremely important,” said Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, chief science officer, RBC and head, Borealis AI. “These aspects of the technology cannot be an after-thought. That’s why we are taking steps to invest in advancing the ethical principles surrounding AI with this commitment to CIFAR.”

Toronto-based CIFAR leads the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, established in 2017 by the federal government. RBC says its donation will assist CIFAR to deliver key initiatives, including grants for novel AI research, training the “next generation of experts,” and research workshops on the application of AI in areas such as energy, the environment, neuroscience, cancer, public health and ethics.

“We’re grateful that RBC Foundation and Borealis AI have chosen to support and co-operate in this important work. CIFAR fellows are pioneers in the underlying science of AI, and we also intend to catalyze research into its ethical and social implications for society,” said Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR.