What an epic, even historic, summer it was.

Heatwaves, wildfires, storms – it was like Mother Nature and Planet Earth were reminding us that no matter where we are, or what we do, the climate is profoundly changing. Now, as climate presents equal parts challenges and opportunities, we’ll need to accelerate climate action.

Meanwhile, the explosion of ChatGPT signaled that AI is really starting to take hold. Now, from regulation to adoption, the race for AI dominance is on.

At such a critical juncture, it’s important to ask where Canada fits in this age of disruption?

And can we lead, particularly in areas where we already do – AI, clean energy and food production.

For Season 7 of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, we’ll speak with incredible innovators and disruptors who are chasing answers to these questions and challenges. So be sure to subscribe and listen everywhere you get your podcasts.

John Stackhouse [00:00:01] Hi, it’s John here. I hope you had a great summer. And what an epic, even historic summer it was.

SFX [00:00:07] More than 6,000 separate wildfires have burned all over the country.

John Stackhouse [00:00:13] Heat waves, wildfires, storms.

SFX [00:00:15] Canada has been overwhelmed.

John Stackhouse [00:00:18] It was like Mother Nature and Planet Earth were reminding us that, no matter where we are or what we do, the climate is changing profoundly. And the costs are growing. There was something else going on this summer that was also anything but natural. It was the explosion of ChatGPT. Now, Generative AI has been a thing for a while, but it was this summer that it really began to take hold. It feels like we’re on multiple collision courses as a society and this possible collision of climate and computing is what we’re going to explore on the upcoming season of Disruptors, an RBC podcast. We’ll ask “how can advanced technologies like ChatGPT help humanity but also help the planet?” I actually got thinking more about this during a double billing of Barbenheimer, that other great summer phenomenon. A lot’s been said about Barbie and Oppenheimer. But what I found kind of interesting was the existential tension between humans and technology in both films. As a species, we’ve long wrestled with the God complex and our ability to both create and destroy. We’re seeing that in climate, of course, and we may be seeing it in AI. But there’s also that constant human urge for progress. To not just build, but to share and nurture and grow. And we’re going to need a lot more of that for climate and for A.I. and for so much more. In AI, the race is on for supremacy in both adoption and regulation. Generative AI is a part of every business and sector. Large language models like GPT are already enabling the application of Einstein-level IQ at scale. And with investment increasing, regulators are confronting the challenge of how to slow AI’s rise. In climate, there are equal challenges and opportunities. We’re now a year into the age of the Inflation Reduction Act, when governments are spending record amounts and driving up regulation as well to accelerate climate action. Clean tech is taking center stage pretty much everywhere in the world. Countries are competing to dominate in batteries and EVs, leading critical minerals and safeguard domestic energy supplies. The future really is now. Here in Canada, the economy is thundering on as we confront the challenge of managing record population growth amid a historic housing shortage.

SFX [00:02:51] Canada hit a new milestone officially surpassing 40 million in population.

SFX [00:02:57] Chat about interest rate hikes, being able to afford housing has been on the top of everyone’s mind.

John Stackhouse [00:03:02] Our race to net zero is accelerating with Clean Electricity Regulations, record funding for decarbonization and incredible innovation in every sector. Companies and consumers, investors and innovators are all recognizing that we’ll need technology to ensure those investments advance progress in the way that policy won’t. As workers return to the office and students return to campuses and classrooms, Generative A.I. is arriving in full force to turn traditional ways of working and learning on their heads.

SFX [00:03:32] GPT, a search bot that responds with full text and analysis on a wide range of different topics.

SFX [00:03:40] Chat bots came out. Kids are wondering, “can I use this for homework?’ Teachers are wondering ‘how do I need to adjust my classroom now that this technology is out there?’

SFX [00:03:48] Because it’s really going to impact every industry from customer care, to transforming data centers on logistics, to medicine, to manufacturing, to energy, to the automotive industry, to aerospace communication.

John Stackhouse [00:04:01] So where does Canada fit in this age of disruption? We’re a podium nation in AI research, but can we use that to be a leader in AI applications? We’re a podium nation in energy systems. Can we use that to be a leader in energy transitions? We’re a podium nation in food production. Can we use that to be a leader in climate smart agriculture? Right now across Canada incredible innovators and disruptors are chasing these questions and we will spend the coming season chasing them for answers. So please join us for season seven of Disruptors, Canada’s leading business podcast coming this fall. Wherever you get your podcasts.

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