Third edition of the AI Meetings: celebrating local key players that put Quebec on the map

On May 25, the Chamber held the third edition of the AI Meetings as part of C2 Montréal. Over 300 people gathered for the occasion, to listen to local artificial intelligence ecosystem experts and attend the Quebec Excellence in AI Awards ceremony. A look back at this high point for the sector, at a time when the world is abuzz with its recent developments.

Generative AI at the heart of the debate

For several months now, the progress of AI tools such as ChatGPT or Midjourney has done nothing but impress and elicit reactions from everyone in society. Naturally, these questions were at the heart of discussions throughout the event.

There’s no doubt that the latest advances in generative AI mark a major technological evolution.

“AI has moved into a second phase. It’s making a spectacular comeback” – Julien Billot, CEO, Scale AI

Speakers pointed out the incredible potential AI opens up for businesses. Generative AI, with the potential time and productivity savings it already offers, has been presented as already unavoidable for most organizations. Considering how fast things are changing, companies need to look at the issue now to assess the possibility of integrating AI into their processes.

“We’re in a phase where we’re accelerating our collective awareness of AI. It’s time to get informed and free up time in our organizations to look into it.” – Valérie Pisano, President and CEO, Mila

The need for an appropriate regulatory framework

Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before discussion turned to regulation. Despite being extremely promising, the use of artificial intelligence and its most recent developments needs to take place within a clear framework.

“It would be unwise not to use generative AI, provided that such use is well supervised.” – Luc Vinet, CEO, IVADO

Following up on the warnings issued by Yoshua Bengio and Yuval Noah Harari during their C2 Montréal talk the day before, several speakers raised important issues related to generative AI.

“Yuval Noah Harari’s lecture yesterday was a real highlight. He explained that in the past, the hammer needed a human to strike. AI may not need it.” – Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

The experts present agreed that having a society-wide conversation on the subject quickly was important. This is the scale on which choices need to be made if we are to retain control over a technology that may still seem mysterious. Governments also need to grasp these issues in order to make informed decisions, as they do in other innovative sectors.

We need to implement frameworks, as we’ve done with transportation, health and other sectors. We innovate, but within parameters that respect human integrity and well-being.” – Luc Sirois, Quebec’s Chief Innovation Officer, Executive

Quebec Excellence in AI Awards

Ending the event on a high note, the Excellence in AI Awards were given the local ecosystem’s most interesting projects. Divided into eight categories, they showcased Quebec’s very best, who have integrated this cutting-edge technology into their practices.

AI company with the strongest international performance

  • BrainBox AI

Québec AI start-up of the year

  • Axya

AI product of the year

  • AlayaCare

AI service of the year

  • Vooban

Best AI project for social good

  • Whale Seeker

Best integration of AI into a product/service or business process within an SME or NPO

  • Ray-Mont Logistics

Best integration of AI into a product/service or business process within a large company

  • Metro – Moov AI

Audience’s choice award

  • Ubenwa

Congratulations to all the winners and participants. Remember that ALL IN, the largest event dedicated to Canadian artificial intelligence, will be held in Montréal on September 27 and 28, 2023 and will be co-organized by the Chamber, Scale AI, CEIMIA and Mila. Join us!

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About the AI Meetings

The AI Meetings were co-developed by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Scale AI and the Conseil de l’innovation du Québec. It was presented in association with Investissement Québec and La Presse; in collaboration with IVADO; and in partnership with Montreal Gazette.

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