Seizing on Montréal’s expertise to predict the social impacts of Artificial Intelligence

On March 27, 2018, the Fonds de recherche du Québec, in partnership with Université de Montréal, held a workshop at the Palais des congrès de Montréal on a project to create a world observatory on the social impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies. Nearly one hundred people from all of Québec’s universities were in attendance, along with representatives from government departments, civil society organizations and the AI sector.

According to the workshop organizers, all activity sectors are going to be increasingly affected by artificial intelligence. While it holds extraordinary potential to foster economic development and improve living conditions, AI also raises concerns with regard to jobs, security, democracy, ethics and the professional, social and private spheres of our lives; hence the idea to create an observatory on these social issues.

Held in November 2017, the workshop was as a follow-up to the Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence and jointly organized with the Palais des congrès. By bringing together experts from fields ranging from pure science to the humanities and social sciences, the Forum sparked a collective discussion on the ethical and socially responsible development of AI.

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The Palais des congrès de Montréal recently confirmed it will be hosting yet another major AI convention, more evidence of just how dynamically this scientific field is developing in the city. The 30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) will be coming in 2021 and attract nearly 3,000 experts from all over the world.