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Official launch of the International Centre of Expertise in Montréal for the Advancement of AI

July 9, 2020

Established under the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), the International Centre of Expertise in Montréal for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (ICEMAI) has officially launched its activities with the appointment of Jacques Rajotte as Interim Executive Director. The members of the board of directors of this brand new international organization will hold their first meeting on July 13.

The GPAI will work on four themes, two of which will be supported by ICEMAI: responsible use of AI and data governance. A similar centre of expertise based in Paris will address two other themes: the future of work, and innovation and commercialization of AI. Given the current environment, the GPAI will also examine how AI can be used to develop technological solutions to better respond to pandemics such as that of COVID-19.

In collaboration with industry, the scientific community and civil society, ICEMAI will thus contribute to the responsible development of AI based on ethical principles, human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth, taking particular account of the interests and contribution of emerging and developing countries.

The centre will also analyze measures to strengthen national capacity to commercialize and adopt AI-related technologies.

With a career spanning nearly 40 years as a lawyer and senior executive, including more than 15 years in international development, Jacques Rajotte will be the Interim Executive Director of ICEMAI. “I’m pleased to be able to put my experience at the service of this brand-new international centre, which will have a positive impact all over the world,” says Jacques Rajotte. “With the artificial intelligence revolution, which is evolving at breakneck speed, it is essential to put in place organizations that can ensure the responsible development of this new technology and bring it within everyone’s reach, including populations in emerging and developing countries. AI has immense potential to transform society and provide concrete solutions to the challenges we face today. ”

The Board of Directors is also composed of:

  • Patrice Bachand, Head of Partnerships and International agreements at the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie in Québec
  • France Brosseau, Vice-President, International Organizations, Montréal International
  • Lyse Langlois, Executive Director, International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital (OBVIA)
  • Samuel Marleau-Ouellet, Director, Artificial Intelligence Hub, External and Trade Policy Branch, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Marc-Étienne Ouimette, Head, Public Policy and Government Relations, Element AI

ICEMAI now joins a dynamic and well-established community of more than 65 international organizations in Montréal, the third largest concentration in North America, after New York and Washington.

Montréal International has been involved in the creation of this centre since 2018, when the Québec government announced $5 million in funding to establish or attract an international AI organization in Montréal, a project that was also supported by the Government of Canada, which invested close to $10 million. “Guiding the development of the centre was a long and dedicated effort, masterfully carried out by our team, and we’re extremely pleased with the result,” says Stéphane Paquet, President and CEO of Montréal International. “This initiative combines two of Montréal’s great strengths: its ecosystems of international organizations and of artificial intelligence. The centre will do much to promote our city’s expertise around the world. ”

ICEMAI will organize the first international meeting of the GPAI’s multi-stakeholder expert group in Montréal in December 2020. The GPAI already has 15 members guiding the development and responsible use of AI, and it facilitates international and multi-stakeholder collaboration by bringing together experts from industry, civil society, government and academia.

About the International Centre of Expertise in Montréal for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (ICEMAI)

ICEMAI is one of the two centres of expertise of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), along with the centre in Paris. It will work closely with the GPAI Secretariat, housed at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and form partnerships within the local and national AI ecosystems.