— Montreal, June 7-9, 2019 TechAide organized a fundraising initiative and Hackathon for AI4Good at the Mila offices. Teams were presented with 5 real world challenges faced by several nonprofit organizations. The conference was a success and brought together Montreal’s tech and non-profit communities. Some of the challenges included food-waste and improving third-world medical records scanning accuracy.
Montreal has a thriving startup ecosystem and it keeps getting better every year. It’s not uncommon to bump into the same people at meetups, 5@7’s or startup events in general. The AI4Good Conference and Hackathon this year, was an extraordinary opportunity to meet some new faces, nonprofits and NGO’s to be specific, and use the new advances in technology and AI in order to tackle some big social challenges. The conference took place at the Mila offices in Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood. Participants got to hear from several thought leaders including a fireside chat with Yoshua Bengio, companies working in the AI field with a positive impact for society and a few issues faced by nonprofits.
Among the presenters, Korbit’s CEO, Iulian Serban got a chance to share the company’s vision to transform and democratize education with AI-powered tutors. The audience was quite inspired and many students and professionals showed interest in helping the startup spread the word about the recently launched machine learning course taught by AI created in collaboration with Mila.
Charles Onu presented Ubenwa, a social venture aiming to save newborn lives through low-cost, cry-based diagnostic technology powered by AI. Kate Arthur, the founder and CEO of Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ), the Canadian non-profit, talked about their recent mission to teach over one million kids and 50,000 educators about AI by the year 2030 #kids2030.
Yoshua Bengio discussed AI Ethics and Social Impact during a fireside chat. He even took questions from the audience including one participant’s request to “join his Hackathon team” which he politely declined. Another highlight of the conference was a panel talk called AI and the Future: from Gloom and Doom to Hope and “Dope” with panelists Doina Precup, Kate Arthur and David Usher and moderated by Ilias Benjelloun from MTLNewTech. The panel discussed several topics on the future of AI and shared a fresh perspective from different angles.
During the Hackathon, each team worked relentlessly on finding a solution to their challenge with the help of their mentors. Teams delivered their creative results and recommendations in the form of a short pitch followed by a Q&A period. The Hackathon winners each received a signed copy of Yoshua Bengio’s book as well as other prizes, including some one-on-one time with industry experts.
Events like this year’s AI4Good conference and Hackathon create a much needed dialogue between researchers, industry and in this case nonprofits. With the community’s support, this event will continue to grow and improve and help all the key players in the ecosystem take advantage of the numerous innovations in the AI field.