The ambitions of Quebec’s chief innovator

The ambitions of Quebec’s chief innovator
The ambitions of Quebec’s chief innovator

“Three years ago, 50% of Quebec companies were carrying out innovation projects. Today, we are at 70%,” says Luc Sirois proudly.

However, that doesn’t mean the work is done. According to the Innovation Council, while the number of business projects has increased in Quebec since 2021, the rate of investments in research and development has slowed down.

A chief innovator must help businesses become more innovative, explains Mr. Sirois to summarize the mandate given to him by the Quebec government in 2020.

Its main challenge: catching up with the gap that has arisen compared to other regions of the world.

In Europe and Asia […]the development of research has been accelerated, says the chief innovator. In Quebec, the speed was less there.

Quebec companies, balloon”,”text”:”balloon carriers”}}”>ball carriers

Although it has the mandate to help Quebec businesses develop their appetite for innovation, it still specifies that it is they who must be the ball carriers.

THE worst enemy of innovationwarns Luc Sirois, these are the companies that are resting on their laurels and postponing the design of new products because their order books are full.

When the competitors arrive, they are fierce. The competition [mondiale] is hard when they come home. If you haven’t already invested, it’s too late.

A quote from Luc Sirois, Quebec’s chief innovator

Above all, he emphasizes that when a company innovates, society as a whole benefits. A company that invests will become more efficient in its creation of products or services, a process that benefits the local economy and, ultimately, the Quebec state.

A place of choice in artificial intelligence

According to the chief innovator, to maintain a place in innovation on a global scale, Quebec must continue to focus on artificial intelligence (AI).

The province is in the lead in this area. Researchers, several companies in the sector and important institutes are based there. This environment attracts young shoots (start-up), more and more numerous.

According to Luc Sirois, the place that Quebec is carving out for itself does not come without certain responsibilities, for example supervising theAI and ensure protection against drift.

The potential of AI

At the start of 2023, Bill GatesElon Musk and several experts have asked companies to pause the development of artificial intelligence for six months to give governments time to think about better regulation.

Yoshua Bengio, Canadian expert in the field and founder of the Mila institute, also sounded the alarm about the lack of supervision of theAI and its harmful effects on democracies in a context of unbridled development.

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Researcher Yoshua Bengio warns of the risks that artificial intelligence poses for society. (Archive photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Gabriel Le Marquand Perreault

Faced with a technology whose advances are not measured every decade but rather every quarter, Luc Sirois thinks that Quebec must focus on the supervision ofAI.

You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube: taking a break is impossible. If we want to stay ahead, we must not stand in the lane and then watch the train go by. We have to be the ones who do things before others to teach them to the rest of the world.

A quote from Luc Sirois, Quebec’s chief innovator

Indeed, beyond the risks of abuse, artificial intelligence represents a potential that Quebec must not neglect. This is the case in medicine and education, for example.

AI]to help them learn, detect their anxiety and distress in difficult situations and create more supportive environments [à l’apprentissage]”,”text”:”We can greatly enrich young people’s learning [avec l’IA] to help them learn, detect their anxiety and distress in difficult situations and create more supportive environments [à l’apprentissage]”}}”>We can greatly enrich young people’s learning [avec l’IA] to help them learn, detect their anxiety and distress in difficult situations and create more supportive environments [à l’apprentissage]adds Mr. Sirois.

The Quebec Innovation Council submitted a report at the beginning of February entitled Ready forAI which outlines a framework law on artificial intelligence in Quebec.

In Ottawa, a law on artificial intelligence and data is being studied in the Commons, but its content has been the subject of several criticisms from experts, who notably question the ability of the industry to self-regulate.

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