An artificial intelligence lab, whose opening in Edmonton spurred excitement about the future of the AI sector in Alberta’s capital, is set to close, according to a company spokesperson.
In 2017, the Alphabet group’s DeepMind firm announced it was opening a research office in Edmonton, marking the first time the company had set up shop outside the U.K.
The Alberta operation was led by several University of Alberta professors and worked on what DeepMind described as “core scientific research.”
News of the closure was first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday. A company spokesperson confirmed the news in a statement issued to Global News on Tuesday afternoon.
“DeepMind has made the difficult decision to consolidate its Canadian offices and close the Edmonton office, while maintaining its other Canadian locations in Montréal and Toronto, which are within Google offices,” the statement reads. “Edmonton is the only international site directly managed by DeepMind (all the rest are in Google-managed offices) and (is) therefore far more resource-intensive to operate.
“The Edmonton-based researchers have been offered the option to relocate to another DeepMind office, such as DeepMind Montréal, based in Google’s Montréal office, which will continue to operate as normal.”
Edmonton becoming a leader in artificial intelligence
The company spokesperson did not confirm when the Edmonton office would close or how many staff are expected to be impacted by the development.
News of the DeepMind office’s closure comes amid a recent wave of layoffs in the global tech sector. On Monday, the music streaming service Spotify announced it was cutting six per cent of its global workforce and other major firms like Amazon, Microsoft and Google have also recently announced tens of thousands of job cuts.
–With a file from The Associated Press
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