Main Stage Program : September 30th 2020

All sessions will be live streamed online and available on-demand until Oct.31.

Main Stage

  • Keynote - Prioritizing Wellbeing in the Age of The Algorithm

    08h45 - 09h15

    While it's common practice to define metrics for optimization or values-alignment in AI, the economic underpinnings of how most work gets realized universally falls under the constraints of exponential growth.  At a country level GDP has driven short-term, quarterly productivity goals for more than seventy years featuring statistical models that were never designed to include caregiving or the environment.  This drive for exponential growth is so deeply woven into global business culture that the "move fast and break things" mandate is as inevitable as the assumption that competition and financial metrics in isolation will provide the best measure of a "good society."  

    It is time to reorient our thinking towards a "triple bottom line" mentality of prioritizing "people, planet and profit" as the underlying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for all AI.  Otherwise efforts regarding Accountability, Transparency or Explainability will come to fruition in a status quo economy that deprioritizes human wellbeing and environmental sustainability.  For the past four years, The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems has worked to rethink AI "optimization" so design efforts include global Indicators measuring human and environmental factors typically ignored in commonly reported metrics of success.  

    Instruments like IEEE's 7010-2020 recommended practice provides a list of Indicators like the OECD's Better Life Index or the Social Progress Indicator that provide respected and robust data sets for AI creators to utilize in their design and deployment. Rather than stifling innovation, these "Wellbeing Indicators" provide precedent for businesses and policy makers alike to demonstrate how prioritizing issues like mental health can lower costs over time or paying for environmental infrastructure today will save billions of dollars and countless lives in the near future.  Moving beyond the constraint of exponential growth and maximizing returns as a single priority provides more innovation and less risk than by sticking to the single bottom line.  Referencing precedents set by countries like New Zealand and other work being done by the Partnership on AI and the World Economic Forum, this session is designed to incentive anyone creating these amazing technologies to recognize the urgent need to redefine our universal measures of success for a flourishing future. 

    • John C. Havens Executive Director, The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems IEEE
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  • Championing Sustainability, Panel

    09h15 - 10h00

    Top industry experts explore why scaling their social and environmental impact initiatives ultimately generate value for their brand, consumers, and employees.  

    • Emily Sommer Engineering Manager Etsy
    • Xiaochen Zhang Senior Executive FinTech4Good
    • Tanya Woods [Moderator] Founder and Chief Impact Officer Kind Village Inc
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  • Break & Networking

    10h00 - 10h30
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  • The Emergence of Healthcare and Tech

    10h30 - 11h00

    Information Coming Soon.

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  • Developing AI that enhances human creativity

    11h00 - 11h30

    The discussions and debate on the role of ML and AI today focus largely on two areas; 1) will AI take all our jobs and 2) how can AI improve efficiency and productivity. There is a lot of negativity and mis-understanding around ML/AI technology and its potential for good. In this talk I will share the output of our collaboration with a beatboxer where we developed a beatboxing AI digital alter ego of him called Second Self. In the process he (Reepsone) trained ML algorithms on his beatboxing techniques and after a relatively short period of time those algorithms gave him back sounds and techniques that he never performed before. Now for the first time he has a companion that is on par with him technically, kind of sounds like him but yet is distinct and creates in new ways. Having developed the ability to collaborate with his Second Self in real time he has now “levelled up” his voice and he is creating music in ways he never thought possible. If we can build AI tools that enhance his creativity as the leader in experimental vocals – can you imagine what AI might do for the rest of humanity if designed for all. This work highlights the creative potential of AI to lift all of humanity.

    • Domhnaill Hernon VP, Innovation, Strategy, Creativity, R&D Nokia Bell Labs
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  • Architecting for Plasticity - Demystifying the Data Fabric

    11h30 - 12h00


    There is a lot of hype around Data Fabric technology and how it can help accelerate the projects you already have planned. But how does it work? Why are leading analysts saying a Fabric is the next big thing? And why should every Enterprise Architect and CIO be including one as part of their target state architecture?

    Join Karanjot Jaswal, CTO and Co-founder of Cinchy, as he demystifies the world of Data Fabric technology. Karanjot will walk through a roadmap for the future that will show you how your IT teams can cut time to market and eliminate the need to buy, build, or integrate new applications.

    • Karanjot Jaswal Co-Founder and CTO Cinchy
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  • Lunch break

    12h00 - 13h00
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  • Main Stage
  • Defending Our Reality in the Era of DeepFakes

    13h00 - 13h30

    Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, in particular in the realm of perceptual intelligence, have given computers the ability to imagine and depict worlds and people that never existed. While these abilities have several beneficial uses, they also open significant concerns in terms of voice, video and text spoofing.  If perception is reality, then what happens to reality when AI can generate or manipulate perceptions? We will briefly outline the current state of the art in producing as well as combating the privacy, security and societal impacts of such synthetic reality artificants (aka DeepFakes). We will also introduce AI Foundation's Reality Defender project ( and its focus on the impact of DeepFakes on democracy. 

    • Subbarao Kambhampati Professor, Computer Science Arizona State University
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  • Enabling the Next Generation in Voice Technology

    13h30 - 14h00

    Voice communication is at the heart of human to human interaction. We use our voices to communicate with our world around us from talking with our team members on projects to teaching our children how to tie their shoes. What will happen as we shift to human to machine voice communication?  At Dell Technologies we are helping build AI Architectures that will power the next generation in Voice Technology. Learn the challenges of incorporating Natural Language Process (NLP) with Speech-to-Text for the next generation in Voice Technologies. 

    • Thomas Henson Senior Business Development Manager Dell Technologies
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  • Using Big Data and AI to Boost Geospatial Insights for Hazard Prediction

    14h00 - 14h30

    Geospatial intelligence is a critical input in crucial decision-making processes. At Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), geospatial intelligence informs strategic decisions related to hazard prediction. Geospatial intelligence is used to predict the spread of floods, wildfires, and infestations of invasive species. These hazards have the potential of causing significant damage to the lives and wellbeing of impacted Canadians. At NRCan, advanced AI techniques are applied over extremely large datasets to generate sophisticated models for inference and prediction that are useful to understand the onset and trajectories of such hazards. In this talk, the Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor of NRCan will outline some of this innovative work that is underway in various divisions of NRCan, including the Canadian Center for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO), Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), and the Canadian Forest Service (CFS).

    • Vik Pant Chief Science Advisor Natural Resources Canada
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  • The Housing Supply Challenge Presented by The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

    14h30 - 15h00

    CMHC has just launched the Housing Supply Challenge! With $300M of funding up for grabs, this initiative invites citizens, stakeholders, and experts from across Canada to propose innovative solutions to the barriers that limit the creation of new housing. Through the launch of a number of unique rounds, the Challenge aims to address obstacles to housing supply and affordability, enhance community engagement, cultivate collaboration and partnerships, and inspire others to scale or adapt ideas for “Canada-wide impact”. Attend this session to find out how you can participate and take advantage of this exciting initiative.

    • Rana Sharif Senior Specialist, Innovation and Research Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
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  • The Indigenous languages technology project at NRC: an empowerment approach to language software

    15h00 - 15h30

    This presentation will describe a three-year project at the National Research Council of Canada that developed software to assist Indigenous communities in their efforts to preserve their languages and extend their use. The project aimed to work within the empowerment paradigm, where the linguistic goals of communities have at least equal weight with those of the researchers. Because many of the technological directions we took were in response to community needs, the project ended up as a collection of diverse subprojects. These included:

    • The creation of a framework for building verb conjugators for polysynthetic languages, including Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk) and Michif
    • Release of the largest available corpus of sentences in an Indigenous language of the Americas (Inuktut) aligned with English sentences, suitable for training machine translation systems (which we also did)
    • Development of free online services based on automatic speech recognition (ASR) for easing the transcription bottleneck for recordings of speech in Indigenous languages
    • Software for developing “readalong” audio books for Indigenous languages 
    • And several other subprojects.

    Most of these subprojects were carried out in close collaboration with communities. The NRC team followed ethical guidelines provided by an all-Indigenous advisory committee made up of language revitalization experts. 

    • Roland Kuhn Principal Research Officer National Research Council of Canada
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  • Break & Networking

    15h30 - 16h00
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  • Unintended Consequences of Technology: Enabling NextGen Discrimination

    16h00 - 16h30

    Under the guise of objectivity, we continue to allow big data, analytics, predictive algorithms, and AI to penetrate all areas of our lives and shape our collective future. But such technologies are not more objective than people -- they are merely an extension of our collective history and a reflection of our current behaviours. During times of global crisis, we witness a faster deployment of systems so now more than ever, we need to remain vigilant about the technologies that impact our lives. Dr. Sarah Saska will share examples of technologies that enable the NextGen of exclusion and discrimination calls for how we move forward in a more equitable manner.

    • Dr. Sarah Saska CEO Feminuity
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  • AI in Healthcare - Deep learning for precision psychiatry

    16h30 - 17h00

    Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide. Physicians currently have few tools to help them effectively select and manage mental health treatments based on the unique characteristics of their individual patients leading to an arduous and lengthy “trial and error” approach to treatment. By operationalizing AI-based insights we can support even better treatment management, and matching of individual patients to the right treatment.

    • Caitrin Armstrong Chief Technology Officer Aifred Health
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