Message from the Chair

Welcome to IMPACT AI 2019! Given the hype and headlines, it’s hard to imagine that artificial intelligence has been in development for over fifty years. It’s even harder to predict where it will take us next. IMPACT AI is where we take the stand to declare that AI is as much about our humanity as it is the technology.

IMPACT AI is where we’ll discover the humanity of AI and how it will influence, and be influenced by, our ethical beliefs, equality goals, and ideas of empathy. Private and public sources around the world invest significant capital to fuel AI research and commercialization. Canada is one of the first nations to embrace the current AI spring and continues to lead the world in terms of thought leadership, number of startups, and multiple government initiatives to promote AI on a national scale.

Why is responsible AI important? As the only technology that reaches into everything we do, close enough to mimic human behavior and surpass our limitations, AI carries our values with it. It also has the potential to apply values onto others. This poses significant ethical and social challenges for any person, company, or government pursuing AI-based answers to human problems.

The key concerns around responsible AI is the displacement and replacement of jobs, personal privacy, and biases it may introduce into human decision making. Our vision at IMPACT AI is to lead the discussion around these issues and reinforce our collective body of knowledge with real examples and strategies, and meet the people that are making it happen.

“I often tell my students not to be misled by the name ‘artificial intelligence,’ there is nothing artificial about it. AI is made by humans, intended to behave by humans and, ultimately, to impact humans’ lives and human society.”


–  Fei-Fei Li, Professor, Computer Science, Stanford University & Co-Director, Human-Centered AI Institute

AI is not about machines taking over the world, it’s about augmenting human intelligence to make more informed decisions. There is room for both, each executing the jobs they are best suited to do, making the whole greater than the sum of the two elements separately. It is up to us to discuss and decide the frameworks that guide our AI future.

I hope you will engage in the discussions at IMPACT AI and bring what you learn to educate, inspire, and lead your colleagues in artificial intelligence. The greatest force in AI isn’t the algorithm or the computer, it’s you.

I look forward to seeing all of you at IMPACT AI!

Eli Fathi

Chair, IMPACT AI 2019