IA responsable et inclusive

Innovation through inclusive AI: designing, using, adopting

On May 22nd, we welcomed around a hundred people to our conference titled ‘Innovation through inclusive AI: designing, using, adopting’. Technology professionals, academics, researchers, students and those curious about the future of AI were gathered together to talk about this hot topic.

Artificial intelligence is revolutionising every aspect of our lives, but its full potential can only be realised if we embrace inclusivity at every stage: from the design of systems to their use in society. This conference was a celebration of that commitment to inclusivity, where we explored how AI can act as a catalyst for a better and more equitable future.

What does data and AI expert Anne Nguyen think?

After a word of welcome from Prof. Carl-Éric Aubin, our Executive Director, we were honoured to welcome as our keynote speaker, Anne Nguyen, Director responsible for AI at the Conseil de l’innovation du Québec. Anne Nguyen’s mission has always been to break down barriers and make things accessible to everyone – education, water and, in her case, AI. And this is what she is doing at the Conseil de l’innovation du Québec in response to the READY FOR AI report, propelling R&D and innovation, encouraging protection, transparency and equality, helping the public to understand this ‘black box’ and advising the government so that the recommendations take shape in ‘real life’.

Three words to bear in mind, which in Anne’s view reflect the stance we should adopt when faced with AI:

  • Co-intelligence: the importance of combining our distinct intellects in ways that generate results more insightful and powerful than the sum of our individual perspectives.
  • Courage: the audacity to move forward and dare in the face of the unknown.
  • Zenitude: to maintain calm and clarity of mind.

The friendly and authentic interview was conducted by Nathalie Sanon, Training Program Manager at IVADO.

Afterwards, we were treated to captivating panels of students, researchers and AI specialists, who shared their perspectives and questions about the future of the technology. The panelists discussed issues ranging from AI ethics to user-centred design, highlighting the importance of addressing the needs and perspectives of diverse communities.

Challenges and opportunities in responsible AI design

The first panel entitled ‘Challenges and opportunities in responsible AI design’ was moderated by Wiebke Mainville, a student at Polytechnique Montréal, with Mélissa Canseliet, CEO of Humanet, Martin Gibert, philosopher and researcher at the Université de Montréal, and Maude Lizaire, a student at Mila.

The first panel entitled ‘Challenges and opportunities in responsible AI design’ was moderated by Wiebke Mainville, a student at Polytechnique Montréal, with Mélissa Canseliet, CEO of Humanet, Martin Gibert, philosopher and researcher at the Université de Montréal, and Maude Lizaire, a student at Mila.

AI offers new opportunities, and therefore new responsibilities.

The discussion helped us redefine exactly what AI is and what ‘responsibility’ actually means.

Mélissa Canseliet emphasised that in order to design responsibly, we need to understand.

Our panellists reiterated the fact that AI is just a tool that requires interdisciplinarity in its design incorporating the notion of transparency. The notions of explicability and interpretability are important concepts if we want to obtain informed consent from users.

AI is evolving very quickly and it is urgent that the public act as stakeholders in its development.

In conclusion, the panellists all agreed that, from a regulatory framework point of view, the use of AI should be rapidly taken over by governments, in collaboration with technical, social, political and economic experts.

Strategies for maximising AI’s positive impact on inclusion

The second panel looked at ‘Strategies for maximising the positive impact of AI on inclusion’, moderated by Alizée Gouronnec of Montréal InVivo, with Mehdi Benboubakeur, Director of Printemps numérique, Cécile Petitgand, CEO of Datalama and Adèle Salin-Cantegrel, Managing Director of SCIKOOP.

How can we have a positive impact when we know that digital technology is not good for the environment, people or health? We need to keep AI from becoming the exclusive domain of technologists and instead combine multidisciplinary knowledge to make research more inclusive.

There is a gap between the experts and the rest of the population, and we need to work as much on the interface as on the algorithms if we want AI to be adopted by everyone.

Speakers emphasised how AI can be a powerful tool for improving our lives, and healthcare in particular, but also warned of the risks of perpetuating inequalities if not deployed in an equitable and human-centred way.

Case studies

Two case studies were presented by:

Meziane Silhadi, founder of the SQIAM, a student association dedicated to promoting and highlighting the importance of AI in medical care.

Jean-François Connolly, from Airudi, a company that combines artificial intelligence and human intelligence to develop unique HR software solutions that are both human-centric and business-oriented.

The presentations were moderated by Alain Bakayoko, Director – Commercialisation and Innovation, Life Sciences and Health Technologies at PME Montréal Centre-Est.

A day of discovery, discussion and inspiration with leading experts, social innovators, researchers and activists who share a common vision: making AI accessible to everyone, regardless of background, gender, age or ability.

AI can be a driver of social and economic progress for everyone, but as Prof. Ahmed Maherzi, Director of the Social Responsibility Office at the Université de Montréal reminded us in his closing remarks, social innovation and AI must coexist.

Together, we can create a future where everyone’s voice counts and everyone can benefit from the promise of technology!

Here are a few suggestions from our panellists:

Many thanks to the co-organisers of this conference: Institut TransMedTech, IVADO, Montréal InVivo, PME MTL – Centre-Est, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal. See you in 2025 for the 3rd edition!

Source :
Géraldine Dumesnil
Communications Deprtament, TransMedTech Institute
geraldine.dumesnil@polymtl.ca