Embassy takes down AI-generated Canada Day social media post

Canada’s embassy in Washington has taken down a social media post that included an image generated by artificial intelligence.

In a media statement, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) confirmed its June 30 post on X (formerly Twitter) encouraging people to celebrate Canada Day did not cite generative AI as its source.

“This is a new technology that departments are exploring and as the technology evolves, Global Affairs will adapt its policy on the use of AI as recommended by [the Treasury Board Secretariat],” GAC said in the statement. 

The image — of a crowd of people waving Canadian flags — was a stock image GAC obtained through a subscription. The artist who created the image used AI to make it, GAC said.

In the last federal budget, the Liberal government set aside about $2.4 billion to support the development of AI in Canada over the next five years.

The government said $2 billion of that will be used to help researchers, startups and existing businesses access the computational power required to advance and develop AI.

The federal government says it will spend another $200 million to help bring AI technologies to market in the agriculture, health care, manufacturing and clean technology sectors. 

The National Research Council is getting $100 million over five years to help small- and medium-sized businesses deploy new AI technologies. The government has set aside $50 million to retrain workers displaced by AI technologies.

AI safety institute

The budget document also earmarked $50 million to create an AI safety institute to “help Canada better understand and protect against the risks of advanced or nefarious AI systems.”

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When Parliament returns in September, the Liberal government will continue its efforts to pass Bill C-27, the first federal bill specifically aimed at governing artificial intelligence.

The law would update privacy laws and impose new obligations on “high-impact” systems that have the potential to adversely affect health and safety, human rights or the economy.

The proposed law has been studied at committee since September 2023 and currently sits at second reading stage in the House of Commons.

Last week, the federal government launched a consultation on artificial intelligence that will ask innovators, businesses and researchers to identify the best places to invest in order to ensure Canadian AI development remains competitive. The consultation runs from June 26 to Sept. 6.

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