AI Quebec

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AI Québec

Quebec has the reputation of being a major player in the world of artificial intelligence (AI). We may believe it, but exactly what will it be like?

From a strictly objective point of view, the fact that Prof. Yoshua Bengio is one of the Top 3 most cited researchers worldwide in the field of computer science, that he is number 1 in the field of AI, and that he received the 2019 Turing Award, equivalent to a Nobel Prize in computer science, presents a rather important clue.

It is clear to me that the excellence we have been able to develop here in Quebec is certainly due to the talents of our researchers, but also to the boldness our governments have had in believing and investing in research and in our researchers year after year, as well as in our universities and research centers for over 50 years.

These investments have allowed Montreal to develop one of the largest concentrations of Operational Research (OR) researchers in the world. We have been recognized as a force in this field for over 35 years. Yes, 35 years! A secret unfortunately too well kept. Do you know Professor Gilbert Laporte? He is in the Top 30 in the world and ranks number 1 in OR among the most cited researchers.

By simply combining these two powerful ecosystems that we have in Quebec, i.e., AI and OR, we can state without equivocation that we have a unique and world-class group of researchers. Our foundations are excellent. We need to capitalize on this excellence. We need to continue to attract brains, talent, and encourage them to study, work, and settle here. It has already been demonstrated many times in the field of operations research and more recently in artificial intelligence that “the best attract the best”.

We are also a Gallic village that stands out in many ways: by its language, its creativity, its educational institutions, its joie de vivre and its diversity. On this last point, in Montreal, we are fortunate to have a great diversity of people from all over the world. This is clearly a strength that we are beginning to understand and one that will keep us at the forefront of AI in 2050.

Diverse people help Quebec connect with people around the world and will continue to attract the talent needed to develop and grow our ecosystem. As such, we must be mindful of the growing global population. In 2050, 1 in 4 inhabitants will be African, which represents 2.5 billion people, about half of whom will speak French.

Considering that we are an ideal gateway for many French-speaking foreigners who want to reach the U.S. market, this is a great opportunity to grow our talent pool, while expanding our global network of contacts.

For all the reasons stated above, I am very confident that we will continue to stand out and maintain our place among the best in AI and OR in 2050. Of course, the race has only just begun, and it will not be for everyone. It will be thanks to organizations like Forum AI, all our leading research centers, and our industrialists, that we will be in an excellent position to align the planets correctly with all the stakeholders in the ecosystem.

We, the entire ecosystem, and our governments, must continue to believe and invest. We need to ensure that we create world-class champions that will in turn create wealth and help create a continuous cycle of innovation. So the best will attract the best…

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