Artificial intelligence: unleash your full potential here and distinguish yourself on the international stage

On April 8, we held the second edition of AI Meetings, an event jointly developed by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Scale AI and Forum IA Québec. The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, éric Caire, Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital Technology, and Nadine Girault, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, honoured us with their presence.

Close to 500 in-person participants and over 300 remote spectators gathered to hear some 40 panelists take stock of the sector and Quebec’s enviable positioning internationally as well as to explore concrete applications of AI in business.

Block 1 – Situational analysis: portrait of a flourishing industry

“We are at a stage where we have to move on to industrial scale AI to be able to look down the road.”
– Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

“Scale AI represents $150 million in financing. We are very pleased, even though a lot remains to be done to democratize AI.”
– Julien Billot, CEO, Scale AI

“We have to lean into collaboration between research and industry. This is how AI will truly be implemented in businesses.”
– Marie-Paule Jeansonne, President and CEO, Forum IA Québec

Winning government strategies for the future of AI in Canada and Quebec

“Canada has to rapidly position itself in the economy of the 21st century, and AI will be a pivotal point in that. It already plays a crucial role in our economy, and we have a head start.”
– François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“We are going to issue a new call for AI projects for SMEs and startups to adopt and market artificial intelligence. I want us to keep up the incredible momentum we have in Quebec.”
– Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Regional

Unveiling of Vitrine IA Québec

“We are pleased to support Forum IA Québec in the creation of its Vitrine IA Québec. We want to facilitate connections between Quebec-made solutions and international demand.”
– Nadine Girault, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie

Panel – Artificial intelligence continues its momentum

“Even though we talk about the adoption of AI, AI technology is still young. Montréal is one of the cities pushing back the boundaries of its potential.”
– Valérie Pisano, President and CEO, Mila

Talk – Democratizing AI: machine learning for all

“A technology as powerful as AI must be governed by principles, including the principle of benefitting society.”
– Nick Feller, Solutions Manager, Google

Block 2 – AI in action: deployment and practical applications in business

Discussion – Using AI to optimize public services

“The Government of Quebec has to foster the research and innovation communities. Then we want to facilitate opportunities that emerge from this research for commercialization.”
– Éric Caire, Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital Technology

Panel – AI in the aerospace industry

“The AI ecosystem in aerospace is a lever for innovation.”
– Maher Chaouachi, Artificial Intelligence Solution Manager, CAE

Successfully deploying an AI project

“AI has seen rapid evolution in Quebec. Today, many businesses are fuelled by AI and make business decisions based on this technology.”
– Mehdi Merai, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte

Panel – Large retail companies transformed by AI

“How do you implement AI in business? One step at a time. You start by getting stakeholders on board and choosing projects that are important to the company.”
– Daniel Lavinskas, Head, Analytics, BRP

Panel – Manufacturing 4.0: Integrating AI

“Before doing AI, you need to learn to walk and digitize. For example, you need to automate processes and avoid technological maturity becoming an obstacle.”
– Florent Bouguin, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Optel Group

Flash presentations – AI, driving innovation in fintech

“Artificial intelligence can improve business performance in sustainable development.”
– Edouard Clement, Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, Novisto

Flash presentations – Health sector: advances through AI

“To develop AI, we need to develop talent and skills. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals have to understand what the data is and be critical in adopting the technology.”
– Kathy Malas, Responsible for Innovation & Artificial Intelligence, CHUM Associate Professor, Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, HEC Montréal

Block 3 – Ensuring AI’s future

Tribute – Innovation, the backbone of economic development

“We have the good fortune to be in Montréal. From data to decisions, no country can equal what we have here in the city. Let’s continue to invest in basic research, because it makes it possible to attract businesses and train talent.”
– Gilles Savard, Interim President, Polytechnique Montréal

Panel – Breaking into international markets: business opportunities for Quebec AI

“Four words have to guide our actions to promote Quebec expertise internationally in the coming years: show up, talk and convince. We have to reassert our place as a leader in AI internationally.”
– Hubert Bolduc, President, Investissement Québec International

Panel – Quebec flagships conquering international markets

“It’s very important to perfect the client experience before heading off to conquer new markets.”
– Renée Bergeron, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of AppSmart, AppDirect

Panel – Diverse perspectives on AI and its integration into international SMEs 

“The challenge of AI lies in its adoption in businesses. We have to be able to train SMEs and their executive bodies on what is AI, how they can help promote it and create value. Montréal is fortunate to have the skills available within its ecosystem and universities.”
– Peter Kurzwelly, Strategic Partnerships and Chief, AI Sweden Canada

Panel – Resolving the challenges of SMEs in deploying AI Quebec

“AI is within reach of all SMEs. They must adopt the technology and bring it to life within their business.”
– Fanny Leroux, Data Sciences and Business Analytics Expert, Head of the NUMERIA program, CRIM

Panel – Leveraging green AI to stand out

“We count on two main components in green AI: clean energy to propel AI and AI to solve problems related to climate change. There are a lot of opportunities, but particularly an urgency to act quickly.”
– Sylvain Carle, Partner, Innovobot

Quebec Excellence in AI Award

The very first Quebec Excellence in AI Awards were presented during the event. The 2022 winners are:

  • Coveo – AI company with the strongest international performance
  • XpertSea – Québec AI start-up of the year
  • Planning optimization for operating theatres (CHUM) – Best AI project for social good
  • Cargo2 AI project (Port of Montreal) – Best integration of AI into a product/service or business process

About the AI Meetings

The IA Meetings were co-developed by: the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Scale AI and the Forum IA Québec. It was produced in association with CAE, Deloitte and Google Cloud, in collaboration with Business Development Bank of Canada, Bereskin & Parr, Investissement Québec and the Palais des congrès de Montréal, as well as in partnership with Bombardier, BRP, the CRIM - Computer Research Institute of Montréal, EDC Exportation et développement Canada, LexRock AI Technologies, Loto-Québec, Mila, Videns and X Machina AI. The event was made possible through the financial participation of the Government of Quebec.

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