December 4, 2018 6:44 pm

Montreal’s booming artificial intelligence sector gains three more companies

Tue, Dec 4: Montreal is turning into a hub for artificial intelligence. Three British companies are opening new operations in the city because of its outstanding talent pool. Global's Dan Spector reports.

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The artificial intelligence sector in Montreal gained three new companies on Tuesday, as a group of AI firms from the UK announced they will be setting up new offices in the city.

“Greater Montreal has become the place to be,” proclaimed Montreal International CEO Hubert Bolduc at the announcement.

The three companies — QuantumBlack, WinningMinds and BIOS — will bring with them 130 new jobs.

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“Our mission is aligned with Montreal’s mission to be a global leader in artificial intelligence and to attract the best talent from around the world,” said QuantumBlack CEO Jeremy Palmer.

“Given that Montreal is one of the great AI talent capsules of the world, there’s no better place to open our first non-Cambridge, U.K. research office,” said BIOS co-founder and CEO Emil Hewage.

The firms become the latest in a long list to set up shop in Montreal’s booming AI community.

“One after the other, major players have announced projects in Montreal in AI: Microsoft, Google, Facebook,” said Bolduc.

READ MORE: Facebook launches artificial intelligence lab in Montreal

“Having QuantumBlack, having WinningMinds, having BIOS join the big family of AI is amazing and I’m really proud of that,” said mayor Valerie Plante.

According to Montreal International, nearly $1.1 billion in AI investments have been announced in Montreal since 2016.

One firm reaping the benefits is Mylo in Saint-Henri.

“Mylo rounds up your purchase to the nearest dollar, takes the spare change and puts it in an investment account,” said Mylo CEO Philip Barrer.

READ MORE: U.S. military announces $2 billion investment in artificial intelligence

A Boston native, Barrer said government subsidies and other factors made Montreal an obvious choice for his growing AI company.

“Montreal has the great community you’d find in a smaller town with all the opportunity you’d find in a larger city,” Barrer told Global News. “It has great cost of living, talent from all the universities, plus the bilingual community. We find Montreal one of the best places in the world to start a business.”

Montreal continues to establish itself as a world leader in artificial intelligence, and it may soon be a leader in keeping artificial intelligence ethical and honest.

The Montreal Declaration for Responsible AI was also unveiled Tuesday. Internationally-recognized AI scientist Yoshua Bengio played a big part in its inception.

“It’s about making sure that the way the technology’s going to be developed isn’t just about profit and money but the interests of ordinary people who don’t have a voice,” Bengio told Global News.

The hope is that people and companies the world over sign on, and that Montreal and its newest residents can help lead the charge.

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