As artificial intelligence and machine learning technology roll out across the agrifood sector, companies’ knowledge of when and whether to approach the technology as a method of advancing their work is just as important as knowing how to use the technology itself. This is where the Data Readiness Improvement Program (DRIP) from Protein Industries Canada, in partnership with Amii (the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute), is intended to help; it introduces companies to AI and ML solutions, providing foundational, customized training.
DRIP’s first cohort of students went through their training throughout the fall of 2023. The three-month course culminated in a validated project report, helping set them up for a future AI project that could help them incorporate the technology into their future work.
For the team at Ethical Food Group, the training and its resulting benefits were well worth both the time and enrollment fee.
“We had been talking to Protein Industries Canada through another project and had an idea for utilizing AI to improve the product development cycle, and DRIP seemed like a natural step for us to take to better define our project,” Ethical Food Group Co-CEO Ric Williams said. “The obvious impact is the project we are working on; the secondary benefit for us is the approach we were taught and how we can approach working in the AI space.”
Williams explained that the training helped his company not only better understand how to work with AI, but also to better understand what it was they didn’t already know. While he and his coworkers had a plan for AI in the project they were working on, DRIP helped them realize the gaps they needed to address and how best to address them.
The end result is a team at Ethical Food Group that feels more prepared to adopt AI technology and incorporate it into their everyday work.
“For any company, whether they are established and think AI can help them or a brand-new startup, going through the DRIP program will open your mind to approach and project definition,” Williams said. “Even if you think you have a problem to solve, asking the right questions is critical to defining any AI project.”
He recommends that, if given the opportunity, companies who want to better understand how to approach AI and add it to their work apply to DRIP. For more information about the program, including how to apply, visit the link below.