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Over 850 participants gathered for the first Forum on Artificial Intelligence organized by the Chamber

Montréal, January 15, 2018 – The first edition of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal’s Strategic Forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI) was held today, with elected officials from three levels of government, i.e., the Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and the Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy, Dominique Anglade, the Mayor of Montréal and Chair of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Valérie Plante, and the member for LaSalle-Émard-Verdun and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, David Lametti. Over 850 leaders from different sectors came together to assess the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of their industries.

AI: a new pillar of economic development for the city
“The artificial intelligence sector has a considerable impact on the city’s economic vitality,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. “In 2016, Montréal saw a record wave of investment in AI and big data. These two sectors generated 19% of direct foreign investment, according to data from Montréal International. Global giants are aware of Montréal’s strengths, and Montréal businesses from the city’s flagship sectors need to be ready to take harness this. AI is clearly one of the pillars of the future for the city’s economy.”

“The city has an excellent international reputation and an outstanding, collaborative ecosystem we need to leverage to take full advantage of the rise of AI,” Michel Leblanc said. “Montréal has the highest concentration in the world of AI scientists and a dynamic ICT sector with over 91,000 workers. We must continue to develop the ecosystem and direct our efforts to the application and commercialization of the results of research.”

Transform key local industries through artificial intelligence
“There is unanimous agreement that innovations resulting from AI will create significant gains for local businesses across industries,” Mr. Leblanc said. “But many managers wonder what to do first to prepare their business and employees for the upcoming changes. The experts gathered this morning emphasized the importance for local businesses of making a shift now by investing in their technology infrastructure and analytical tools. They can leverage a concentration of know-how in the city to create rewarding scientific and industrial partnerships. Open cooperation among businesses of different sizes is also one of the keys to making our mark on the international scene.”

Prepare the succession
“To keep the city at the head of the pack, we need to continue to invest in basic research and our efforts to attract and retain brains,” Mr. Leblanc said. “We must ensure we train sufficient labour to meet local business needs, both in terms of R&D and management, to enable the organizational transformation of businesses. Dialogue between stakeholders is essential to train future generations, the members of which will be affected in one way or another by these economic and social changes.”

Organize the future of artificial intelligence in Montréal
“Our business community must also mobilize immediately to consolidate the chain of innovation and enable the emergence of tomorrow’s AI world champions,” Michel Leblanc said. “To this end, innovation super cluster projects headed up by Québec leaders in mobility technology and supply chain sectors driven by AI are extremely promising and have strong potential to develop our leading-edge sectors.”

A different approach to supporting companies
“Progress in AI will transform business models and bring about profound change in companies,” said Ramy Sedra, Partner, National Data and Analytics Consulting Leader at PwC Canada. “Businesses need to prepare for technology challenges to benefit from what we believe will be the greatest business opportunity of our generation. In fact, the study Sizing the Prize conducted by PwC indicates that AI will drive the international growth of 14% by 2030. There will be substantial productivity gains for all sectors of activity.”

About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)

With a network of over 7,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.

About the Strategic Forum on Artificial Intelligence

This forum was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. It is made possible through our main partner, PwC Canada, and the invaluable cooperation of our Gold sponsors: CGI, Lavery Lawyers, the Direction régionale de Services Québec de l’Île-de-Montréal and Ubisoft; our Silver sponsors: Amazon Web Services, C2 Montréal, CAE, CN, IBM, Le Devoir and the Montréal Gazette; and our Bronze sponsors: AstraZeneca and Thales.



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Julie Serero
Advisor, Media Relations
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmm

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