The driving forces of the ecosystem AI come together

The theme of the first day of the AI Meetings, on March 18, was mobilizing actors in the artificial intelligence ecosystem of Quebec and Montréal. Representatives of the business community, research centres, granting organizations, and different levels of government spoke, in person or virtually, to take stock of the current situation in the artificial intelligence sector, and to address challenges, and, more importantly, business opportunities to make this industry a driver of the city’s economic growth and reputation.

In the wake of the success of the three previous forums, which focused on the sustainability of the artificial intelligence ecosystem and increasing the synergy between its actors, the objective of this fourth event was to spur businesses to action, by presenting concrete applications of artificial intelligence and how it can be used as leverage for their growth and competitiveness.

BLOCK 1 – The current situation: taking stock of the AI sector

“Data is fuel for artificial intelligence, which drives the digital transformation for the government and local businesses.” – Éric Caire, Minister Responsible for Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Information, and Minister for Government Digital Transformation

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to be an industry that is as promising for Quebec as hydroelectricity was in the 1960s and 1970s.” – Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal

Collaboration at the heart of the AI ecosystem

“Support for artificial intelligence must extend over several years to support the digital transformation of Canada and the entire ecosystem.” – Julien Billot, CEO, Scale AI

“Our objectives for the next few years: building a common showcase for the ecosystem, adopting a shared story, and developing a performance indicator for local businesses.” – Marie-Paule Jeansonne, President and CEO, Forum IA Québec

The positioning of Montréal and Quebec on the world scene

“Quebec has developed a formula that works for a number of key sectors, such as aerospace, video games, and now artificial intelligence, based on our ability to come together quickly.” – Hubert Bolduc, President, Investissement Québec International

What does the purchase of Element AI by ServiceNow mean for the AI ecosystem in Montréal and Quebec?

“The Montréal ecosystem is strong and recognized as such around the world. Montréal is the Canadian leader in the development of the field.” – Denis Therrien, Vice-President, Research and R&D Partnerships, ServiceNow

BLOCK II – Strengthening the positioning of Montréal and Quebec

The contributions of AI research

“Canada has moved from being a talent exporter to a talent importer.” – Stéphane Létourneau, Executive Vice-President, Mila

Building local champions

“We will be champions when artificial intelligence can create economic value.” – Louis Têtu, President and CEO, Coveo

Energizing the entrepreneurial fabric to propel AI

“By drawing closer to innovation and innovators, we will be better prepared for new opportunities for the future and advances in the AI sector.” – Madeleine Jean, Interim Executive Director, Prompt Innov

BLOCK III – Accelerating the integration of AI to our society

Outlook for the rise of AI in Quebec

“Innovators, all hands on deck! If we do things right, the next GAFAM will probably be from Quebec.” – Luc Sirois, Chief Innovation Officer for Quebec

Rethinking AI from the perspective of responsible innovation

“The concept of responsible innovation includes four principles: adding social, ethical, environmental, cultural, and economic value; exploring and prioritizing the short- and long-term impact; participation of all stakeholders, and extreme transparency to ensure participation and trust.” – Joëlle Pineau, Director of the Facebook AI Research Lab, Co-director of the Reasoning and Learning Lab, School of Computer Science, McGill University

The social responsibility and ethics of AI development

“At all stages in the development process for a solution, we need to ensure it responds to ethical and socially responsible criteria that goes beyond mere performance. We need to be aware of everything happening around the algorithm itself.” – Sacha Luccioni, Postdoctoral Researcher, Université de Montréal + Mila

AI at the service of large companies

“Artificial intelligence is integrated into our company to serve three objectives: improving our products and services, developing new niches and new products, and supporting research and development. It is leverage for accelerating our current and future business model.” – Freddy Ntako, Director, Data and Artificial Intelligence Platforms, CAE

“We now have confirmation that the dynamic has been created between the ecosystem actors to reinforce the city’s reputation and consolidate its role as a hub.” – Valérie Pisano, President and CEO, Mila

The first day of the AI Meetings is available for listening on the Chamber’s YouTube channel

About the AI Meetings
The AI Meetings were jointly developed by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Scale AI, and Forum IA Québec. They were made possible through the invaluable cooperation of our Gold sponsors: Air Canada, Microsoft and the Government of Quebec; our Silver sponsors: National Bank, Bell, CAE, Deloitte, Intel, Montreal Gazette, the Palais des congrès de Montréal and Prompt; and our Bronze sponsors: Hydro-Québec and Loto-Québec.

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