The TD Bank Group-owned Layer 6 will be supporting a UofT computer science student and professor working to develop advanced machine learning models to improve the health outcomes of Canadians living with diabetes, stated the Thursday press release.
Tomi Poutanen, co-founder of Layer 6 and TD’s chief AI officer of technology told ITBusiness.ca that for him its about more than just solving social issues with tech, its about attracting tech talent to Canada. “A large part of my team is attracted to the ability to work on these types of social problems…and a lot of [tech] talent in general is attracted to do socially responsible things. So to the extent that I can provide an environment where we work on really ambitious, meaningful projects, that can drive more tech talent [in Canada].”
Data scientists from Poutanen’s team will be supporting the student and UofT associate professor Laura Rosella in their goal of using machine learning to create more personalized and effective treatments for diabetes patients as well as more efficient ways to use health resources.
The partnership is part of TD and Layer 6’s goal to use artificial intelligence for “social good”, which, Poutanen says, was something Layer 6 wanted to focus on even before its acquisition by TD. “We had already talked about what [Layer 6] wanted to do outside of banking and what was important to us. We talked about healthcare opportunities and the natural opportunities that Ontario has to impact change in healthcare with it’s amazing medical research community, diverse population, publicly provided healthcare and AI [capabilities].” He calls this new partnership a first step in the direction of using AI to improve healthcare.
CDL was first launched at UofT’s Rotman School in 2012 and has since grown to six university locations across Canada and the U.S., working with tech innovators and entrepreneurs working on subjects like blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and health to help create scalable companies.
The healthcare stream will receive the multi-million dollar donation, over five years, from the Canadian bank at its Toronto and Waterloo labs to help with its work on biotechnology, bioinformatics and digital care for Canadians.
“The combination of both the sponsorship of the Creative Destruction Labs as well as the contribution that Tomi’s team is making, is really around how [TD] sees the the increasing role of AI in creating a more confident a future, whether that’s financially, in health or on the social side,” TD’s head of global corporate citizenship Andrea Barrack told ITBusiness.ca, emphasizing the importance people place on health when its comes to their financial futures as well.
The investment is part of the bank’s ‘The Ready Commitment’ initiative which looks to invest $1 billion in community issues such as healthcare, environmental issues and financial security.