A lot of money is being invested into public and private partnerships, startups, research and academia active in artificial intelligence across Montreal. Quite a number of conferences are been held in Montreal on a regular basis to build its reputation as a key player in the world of AI. For instance, the recently concluded AI Forum in Montreal discussed the impacts that AI may have in the economy, different industries, and on business.
For instance, Microsoft researchers have developed an effective computing system for deciphering speech with accuracy close to that of humans. The system makes fewer mistakes than transcribers. The system is set to gain a lot of popularity among major transcription users such as the courts and law firms.
According to Jean F Gagne, the CEO and co-founder of Element Artificial Intelligence, an AI startup factory, the best reference point is aiming at attaining the achievements of Silicon Valley. “It is being ambitious and the aim is creating a dynamic and fluid ecosystem,” said Gagne, who was a keynote speaker at the forum. “AI is now an asset to corporations and the government,” he added.
AI hubs have been on the rise in Montreal and its rival city, Toronto, as a result of the federal government and provincial funding. For instance, Ottawa made a promise of funding big data and AI research to a tune of $213 million. Quebec has planned to use $100 million to fund AI development across Montreal. A committee has also been created by the provincial administration to come up with a plan that can transform Quebec into a key AI hub.
There is also massive funding to aid research in techniques such as machine learning. This is a technique that makes computers learn using data to make them smarter. It makes a computer mimic the brain.
The private sector has not been left behind in developing innovative AI technologies. For instance, Google launched a machine learning technique known as deep learning. Google also launched a research lab focusing on AI in its Montreal offices. Microsoft is also investing in a new technology known as Element AI. Lyrebird has developed a speech synthesis application whereas Botler AI has developed an AI technique to assist immigrants in the immigration process.
Learning institutions across Montreal, such as McGill University and U de M, are also building labs for training and research in AI. Research labs are also being set up in Montreal. For instance, Waterloo has opened a lab for research in a language recognition system known as Maluuba. An undisclosed car maker has plans to integrate Maluuba in cars, whereby the system will use voice recognition functions to make remote requests in cars.
According to Mohamed Musbah, the Maluuba product development vice president, the growing rivalry between Montreal and Toronto is now a productive competition. This shows that the rivalry is beneficial to Canada. This will ensure more AI brains are retained within Canada rather than being drained to the United States.
The upcoming AI Forum in Montreal will focus on ethical concerns and regulations on AI. Gagne singles out job disruption and privacy loss as the most critical ethical issues.
Source Montreal Gazette