Meetings No 23
Intro
Pressure on Meetings International
Atti Soenarso: “At this point, we do not believe our ears.”
Cover Story
Catherine Boissier, Astra Zeneca
“Meetings are a vital tool.”
Radar
Cities across Canada Are Attracting Global Meetings
Due in large part to academics and industry innovators across a variety of sectors.
Thinking
The Cost of Not Thinking
Mark Turrell: Applying conscious thought makes a big difference.
Radar
Dubai Tourism Launches Sponsorship Scheme
Designed to empower leisure event organisers.
Economic Development
Dubai Expo 2020 to Deliver $33bn Boost to UAE Economy
Expo 2020 is a long-term investment in the future of the UAE.
Radar
Calgary’s BMO Centre Set for Expansion
Funding approved for a $500 million expansion.
Longterm Development
The Potential of Cambodia
Visothy So: “We want to attract a lot of meetings and events.”
Radar
Canada Is the First Country to Have a National AI Strategy
Canada is in the lead of a global AI race.
Radar
‘She Means Business’ Digs into Diversity at IMEX Frankfurt
Diversity and inclusion are the linchpin of ‘She Means Business’.
Radar
The Business and Power of Placemaking
Placemaking in the spotlight at IMEX.
Radar
IMEX Frankfurt Shines a Light on Diversity and Inclusion
“Diversity means diversity of people, minds, ideas, and approaches.”
Radar
IMEX Agency Directors Forum
A highly relevant and future-focused programme.
Radar
Emirates Working on AI-Powered Flight Assistant
“The advancement of the next wave in aviation innovation.”
Sharma
How to Fireproof Your Productivity
Exponential gains in your exceptionality, productivity and impact.
Transformation
Volvo Car Group, a Human-Centric Meeting Culture
Paul Welander: “It’s always best when you meet live; for me that’s a meeting.”
Kellerman
The Art of Taking the Chance
“Many of the participants said it was the best congress ever.”
classifieds
news
development
Singapore chosen as host city for the inaugural
IBTM Asia Pacific in 2020.

Convene challenges technology events
to set up In Baltic Region.
Town Square Park
Dubai mega project
to hit major milestone today Friday.
FIFA WORLD CUP 2022
Hamad International Airport
unveils expansion plan.
19-21 november
IBTM World 2019
announces brand new speaker showcase and final keynote double bill.
UNiversities means meetings
Abu Dhabi
launches worlds first university of artificial intelligence.
Hotel News
Scandic
to open central Helsinki’s largest conference hotel.
flight news
Flybe
to become Virgin Connect.
sustainability
Lapland Airports
receive international climate certification.

Spain ‘to suffer 500 hotel closures’
due to Thomas Cook failure.
Links
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Canada Is the First Country to Have a National AI Strategy

Caroline Bessega, chief scientific officer for Montreal’s Stradigi AI, was recently quoted in the Financial Post, saying, “In the future, AI is going to be as normal and as natural as the electricity in this room right now.”

Thanks to well-funded research and a culture of collaboration, Canada is in the lead of a global competition for dominance in technologies with immense economic, strategic and military significance: Artificial Intelligence. Becoming a world leader in the development of ground-breaking technologies that allows computers to observe, learn and adapt at mind-boggling speeds didn’t just happen by chance. Curious researchers, scientists whose work was supported by world-class academic institutions, a future-focused government who helped fund innovation clusters, a thriving start-up scene, and perhaps the most Canadian of all attributes: the willingness to come together for a common purpose, have all helped place Canada in the lead of the global AI race.

In an editorial published last year by The Globe & Mail, Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advance Research, noted: “Canada’s success in AI has depended on the willingness of all the players in this ecosystem to align for common purpose. That alignment has created the excitement that has attracted more talent, brought large firms such as Google, Google DeepMind, Facebook, Uber and Microsoft here, unlocked significant pools of capital from Real Ventures, Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec and others and encouraged some of Canada’s largest companies such as RBC, TD and Magna to invest.” Bernstein also notes, “Successful scale-up companies such as Element AI have sent a signal to students, government and business that Canada is an attractive place to invest time, talent and money.”

Canada is the first country to have a national AI strategy. Canadian research institutes have been developing the foundation of AI technologies for over 30 years. Early pioneers like University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Hinton, (Vector Institute), Université de Montréal’s Yoshua Bengio (MILA), and the University of Alberta’s Richard Sutton (Deep Mind), quite literally built Canada’s data-driven research capacity, the substructure of AI. This strong academic infrastructure evolved into a flourishing commercial ecosystem with Canadian start-ups implementing AI in fields as diverse as Fintech, business analytics, life sciences, autonomous vehicles, and CleanTech, creating data-driven solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Leading the way to the future; the multinational companies expanding their research facilities in Canada, including: DeepMind, Google’s AI research division, which opened its first international AI research office in Edmonton in July 2017. Facebook, Samsung, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Thales, and Uber all have AI research labs in Canada. Microsoft, which first developed its Canadian AI presence by acquiring deep learning start-up Maluuba in 2016, recently doubled its research centre in Montreal.

Key to the success of these innovative enterprises, Bernstein noted, is “The presence of a vibrant scientific community. [That] means that the private sector has the young talent nearby that is critical to understand, adapt and use new science,” which makes an enormous difference to an organisation choosing to invest in new technology. Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, the country’s fast-track immigration programme, is also key to swiftly reversing a decades-long brain-drain that saw much of the country’s top tech talent seek jobs in the US. No more. Compared to the high cost of living in US tech hubs, Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto and Waterloo are much more affordable, and attractive with plenty of high-value jobs in science and tech.

Beyond focusing on innovative research and commercialisation of AI technologies, Canada is also taking the lead regarding the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence. The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy provides “global thought leadership on the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of advances in Artificial Intelligence.” There has also been an explosion in training opportunities for young people interested in applying AI to advance social innovation, with institutes such as MILA and McGill University’s 2018 AI for Social Good Summer Lab and the University of British Columbia’s Data Science for Social Good Fellowship Programme.

Photo © iStock.com/PhonlamaiPhoto