After Canadian AI startup, Cohere, secured a new round of funding last week, one of the company’s top executives said the development of generative artificial intelligence will bring about fundamental changes.

“I think what we're seeing in generative AI, this is a once [in] every 15, perhaps 30-year transformation in how humans and computers interact,” Martin Kon, Cohere’s president and chief operating officer, said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Monday. 

On June 8, Cohere announced it secured US$270 million in new capital from a number of large technology companies, including Nvidia Corp., Oracle Corp. and Salesforce Ventures. 

“We are standing right before, or starting down, a very similar massively transformational point in time. This is going to be similar to [the] steam engine’s impact on physical labour, in terms of the impact on intellectual labour and that's extremely exciting,” Kon said

Generative AI will be a significant driver of change, Kon said, similar to the release of smartphones in 2007 or the Mosaic web browser in 1993. He said both of those previous innovations changed the way humans interact with technology and how employees and customers interact with the enterprise.

Amid widespread change, Kon said companies “realize they have to innovate to keep up” and many want to work with independent providers in order to “protect their data and customize these capabilities for their specific context.” 

Two of Cohere’s main focuses are raising capital and cultivating talent, according to Kon. 

“We're very happy with the support we're getting from the investment community, but also from the tech community,” he said. 

“We were very keen or insistent to not take a massive cheque from a single company, certainly not a massive cheque from a single cloud provider, who really is looking to just lock in compute revenue for them.”

Instead, Kon said the focus was attracting investment from around the globe.

The Toronto-based company provides AI tools for things like interactive chat features, generating text for product descriptions and summarizing information.