Where is AI headed in 2018? Your phone will know you better than your friends do, U of T researcher predicts

From self-driving cars to finding disease cures, artificial intelligence, or AI, has rapidly emerged as a potentially revolutionary technology – and the pace of innovation is only set to speed up. 

To get a sense of where the field is headed in 2018, U of T News sat down with the University of Toronto's Richard Zemel, a professor of computer science and the research director at the Vector Institute for artificial intelligence research. 

He was just back from the annual Neural Information and Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Long Beach, Calif. – a once staid academic gathering that’s more than tripled in size over the past five years, drawing dozens of giant corporations. 

Zemel’s take? Get ready for a world where businesses enjoy unprecedented insight into their products and services, Toronto continues its ascent as a major AI research hub, and digital assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become ultra-personalized.

“It will be like being friends with someone for many years,” predicts Zemel, who spoke on the sidelines of an event at the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), one of U of T's numerous entrepreneurship hubs. “The computer or phone may know more about you, potentially, than anyone else.”

Read the Q&A at U of T News