World leaders, top researchers, and the potential of data trusts
Element AI Element AI
December 11 4 min

World leaders, top researchers, and the potential of data trusts

What a week for Element AI

The first week of December was a big one for Element AI, as we welcomed research scientists, world leaders, and elite policymakers from around the globe to a series of events tied together by our commitment to keeping humanity at the forefront of AI and machine learning.


NeurIPS 2018

Starting at the Montréal Airport, we introduced the world to our home town and NeurIPS 2018, the world’s largest gathering of AI and machine learning research scientists.

NeurIPS 2018 Element AI Booth

Visitors to NeurIPS began their week with a guide to Montréal, a schedule of our NeurIPS presentations, and a friendly welcome from an Elemental team member just outside the arrivals door. Our booth at the conference featured an AI-powered giveaway contest, a user-contributed map of NeurIPS attendees around the world, along with copies of papers, posters and articles Element AI presented and had on display at the conference—numbering over a dozen. We were honored to open the week-long event by hosting a panel session on the Governance of AI: a Human Rights Approach, moderated by Element AI CEO JF Gagné. The panel included Ed Santow, Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Christina Colcloug, Director of Platform and Agency Workers, Digitalisation and Trade, UNI Global Union, and Eimear Farrell, Advocate and Advisor for Technology and Human Rights, Amnesty International.

Our research scientists contributed three articles produced by Element AI, one of which was a spotlight talk; eight workshop articles; and six other papers from students and fellows working within Element AI’s academic community. And NeurIPS is about more than just the science of AI: Julien Cornebise, director of our London office, presented on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the AI for Social Good workshop.

Element AI in action at NeurIPS 2018 booth


The Government of Canada Invests in Montreal AI

During this very full week, we were also honored to welcome Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, to present Element AI and five other Montréal artificial intelligence startups with a federal investment endowment. With $5 million going to Element AI, the loan supports the growing ecosystem of AI innovators across Canada— currently 75,000 in Montréal, the highest concentration of students and researchers in Canada. Anne Martel, Senior Vice-President of Operations at Element AI, spoke about the company’s focus on innovation, creativity, social stewardship, critical thinking, and growth.

Canadian Government Invests in Montreal AI


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders

Element AI was privileged to host world leaders from the G7 2018 delegation, led by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Minister Bains on Friday, Dec. 6.

Canada Invests in AI

In continuing discussions on the enablement of responsible adoption of AI in Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Bains addressed a full audience of G7 fellows and members of the press. Along with re-emphasizing Canada’s investment in AI, the Prime Minister also addressed how we must recognize the implications for AI development and adoption. By focusing on how we can enable environments that foster societal trust, we will be able to build upon our common vision of human-centric AI. These discussions echoed and amplified many of the topics addressed earlier in the week by the Element AI / Nesta Data Trust workshops.


Designing and Building Data Trusts Workshop

Also at the Element AI offices, we were proud to host a two-day workshop in collaboration with NESTA, an international think tank organization. With 30 representatives from academia and government bodies, the group addressed the serious issues of data trust, privacy, and protecting how data shall be accessed and governed for AI and machine learning applications. This group made huge strides in trust, and the ethical impact of how legislation and governance of large data-sets should proceed in global environments.

Onward to 2019

After this full week of events, workshops, press and government visits, Element AI closes the year with a clarified vision and commitment to carry on its innovative work in AI and Machine learning. In this growing, collaborative ecosystem in Montreal and in Canada, we remain committed to our goal of learning and sharing insights as we develop the tools to amplify intelligence at scale, augment decisions to help make businesses stronger, safer, and more agile.