Press release

1st conference on AI on a Social Mission in Montreal, January 25th-26th

Super Heroes or Killer Robots:

What’s our Artificial Intelligence going to be?

Montreal, January 9th, 2018: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to be human right’s best advocate as well as its worst enemy. It can either help us reach sustainable development goals or, to quote internationally-renowned AI scientist Yoshua Bengio, AI can increase discrepancies between the rich and the poor and be a threat to democracy. Fears of job loss, killer robots and psychological manipulation are real and need to be addressed by a united front.

To better understand and shape the social impacts of AI for the greater good, the inaugural conference on the theme of “AI on a Social Mission” is being held January 25th and 26th 2018 at the Canadian Center for Architecture, 1920, Baile Street, in Montreal. Presentations are both in English and French and simultaneous translation will be provided.

“AI is both a hope and a danger,” warns Yoshua Bengio, who will be the keynote speaker at the conference. “There are political choices to be made and the ordinary citizen must understand them. We have the responsibility to not leave these decisions in the power of a handful of individuals.”

During the conference, inspiring presentations, passionate panels and small multidisciplinary discussion groups are on the menu to assess and shape the social impacts of AI. Speakers and participants will offer solutions and make concrete suggestions on how to implement AI in a way that reflects our humanitarian values.

The political, economic and social context in Quebec and the world is facing a historical period of change. The concentration of researchers and AI talent gives this city a strategic position: Montreal has the potential to become a world leader on the social impacts of AI.

To achieve that, not only do we want AI to be developed ethically and responsibly, we need to make sure it is implemented equitably and accessible to everyone.

Combining AI and social work, the conference organizers wanted to reach citizens first through the community organizations and non-profits that represent them. Over 30 non-profits as well as numerous AI, data science, ethics, social innovation researchers will be participating at the conference.

“We need to get AI out of the academic milieu and reach out to the community, we need to facilitate a discussion, a collective co-creation and forge a united front to the real risks of AI,” explains Valentine Goddard, organizer and executive director of Artificial Intelligence Impact Alliance (AIIA).

The event is made possible thanks to the support of L’Institut des algorithmes de l’apprentissage de Montréal (MILA), and the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO) and Artificial Intelligence Impact Alliance (AIIA). Through innovative ways and multidisciplinary collaborations, AIIA offers proactive support to organisations and businesses with a social mission.

For more information or to register to the first “AI on a Social Mission” conference, please visit the website

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For interviews and additional information:

Valentine Goddard
(514) 512-0002