A New York City-based firm that develops a “digital colleague” named Amelia is the first to state interest in providing artificial intelligence services to the Government of Canada.

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SwissCognitiveA tender notice posted by Public Works and Government Services Canada on Saturday morning is the most recent step taken by the government towards acquiring AI services. It’s open to receiving proposals until Oct. 31. Its purpose is to create a pre-qualified list of suppliers that will deliver AI services towards several key areas where the government believes it has the most to gain from the technology.

IPsoft Canada is the first to be listed as an interested supplier. Its Amelia AI system that promises to handle customer service requests without the need for human intervention. Amelia can be trained to learn a company’s processes and interacts with users via natural language – a chatbot interface. She can remember every interaction that she’s ever had, and understand how to apply business information to customer interactions. She even seeks to understand the user’s emotions and mood.

“I’ve been in technology for a very long time and I’ve seen a lot of different technology that can bring savings,” says Stephen Kotyck, director or larger enterprise at IPsoft Canada. “What is so different about IPsoft is just how substantial those savings are and how well the technology works.” Government of Canada CIO Alex Benay has been working to develop an ethical AI framework. He says Canada can be a leader in this area. Government of Canada CIO Alex Benay discussed the RFP at his book launch event for Government Digital in Toronto on Thursday.

“I’d like to think we’re one of the most organized governments in the world when it comes to this,” Benay says. “We have an ethical framework that’s coming out in the fall, once this RFP closes.”

Benay has been developing an ethical framework for AI with his team as well as the CIO Strategy Council, a group he co-founded and brings together public and private sector technology decision makers.

The government also has an algorithmic impact assessment tool that assesses the ethical behaviours of AI automation. It plans to showcase this in Israel during a November event, he says.[…]

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