Hannes Westermann, doctoral student at the Cyberjustice Laboratory, talks about recent Montreal conferences

Hannes Westermann, is the recipient of the LexUM Chair Scholarship. He recently finished his Master of Laws degree at the University of Lund,  Sweden. Now 23 years of age, he is currently pursuing a Doctor in Law degree at Université de Montréal. He focuses his studies on the application of Artificial Intelligence to Law and Jurisprudence. He will play a leading role on research projects at the Cyberjustice Laboratory.

Hannes now tells us about two recent events he attended that showcase Montreal’s place in two cutting-edge technologies :

In late August 2018, I had the pleasure of attending two conferences on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing in Montreal.

The first conference, the Montreal Artificial Intelligence Symposium, brought together participants from both academia and industry. The conference featured a keynote by Melanie Mitchell from Portland State University. She discussed the “barrier of meaning”, the concept of understanding and giving meaning to situations encountered in the real world. While this concept is intuitive to humans, it remains elusive for AI systems. The second keynote, by Margaret Mitchell from Google AI, explored unfairness and bias in the use of machine learning algorithms, as well as solutions to this important issue. Finally, a panel of leading experts in AI addressed the question of how to enhance Montreal’s ecosystem in the development of these technologies. The conference also featured a multitude of interesting talks, as well as a poster session. The keynotes and talks can be viewed online here: http://montrealaisymposium.com/ .

The second conference I attended was the “Atelier sur le traitement de la langue naturelle pour les partenaires du MILA”, held by the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA). It was focused on Natural Language Processing and its applications. Yoshua Bengio from Université de Montréal gave a talk about teaching computers to understand language, and how this might depend on them understanding common sense. Jackie Cheung, from McGill University, talked about how to leverage external data, such as Wikipedia articles, to improve Natural Language Understanding systems.

These conferences increased my understanding of the potential of artificial intelligence, but also the risks and challenges associated with its use. It also showed me the strength of the community and ecosystem around AI in Montreal, which I am very excited to become a part of!



This content has been updated on 09/18/2018 at 15 h 44 min.