Labor laws urgently need to be modernized to prevent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) from directly impacting Quebec's labor market, according to the Quebec Innovation Council (CIQ).
“Integrating AI into work promises benefits such as improved productivity, but also carries the risk of poor management and job losses,” warns the Quebec Innovation Council (CIQ).
This is the conclusion reached by the organization, which surveyed 250 experts, 420 citizens and 1,500 people as part of a forum and is today presenting a detailed report that sheds light on the challenges of AI. These are five main areas and twelve recommendations made to the Government of Quebec (see below).
“In order to mitigate these risks, a modernization of labor law and social policy is recommended,” write the authors in black and white.
Provided by CIQ
For Luc Sirois, Quebec's chief innovator and director general of the CIQ, the aim of the exercise was “to ensure that Quebec is at the forefront of the development and responsible and ethical use of 'AI'.”
No more unemployment
In the 165-page building block, we mention that, in addition to creating economic inequalities, AI also poses the risk of increasing unemployment for certain categories of workers.
“ChatGPT is now revolutionizing creative professions, such as those associated with the production of films, images, texts, voices, etc.,” we illustrate.
According to Goldman Sachs, more than 300 million jobs will be affected by AI. According to the company, two-thirds of positions are preparing for automation.
“According to the World Economic Forum, 2% of jobs on the planet are at risk of disappearing by 2027. A recent report from the World Labor Organization also shows that in high-income countries like Canada, “almost 5.5% of jobs would potentially disappear because of AI,” it said.
Fitzgibbon is aware of the challenges
Asked at a press conference, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon reiterated that the general population may actually be “a little skeptical about what might happen to jobs.”
“In a context where companies need to increase their productivity, I think it is appropriate that AI is used well, I say the word 'well',” emphasized the Minister of Innovation and Development. “Energy.”
“We need to be very clear about what will happen with reskilling and what jobs may be lost. That’s why we asked the CIQ to look at it,” he explained.
In addition, Quebec must adopt a law to protect itself from the excesses of artificial intelligence and allow for the ethical development of this technology that is disrupting our lives, says the group of experts.
“The seriousness of the risks posed by new artificial intelligence (AI) systems, whose capabilities continue to increase, has recently led many governments and countries to adopt a more interventionist stance in the regulation of this technology.” Quebec should do the same “, says the report.
“AI must be equipped with trustworthy governance if we want to quickly realize all the benefits for our society. Our government, together with the most credible partners in the field, is taking the necessary measures to build this trust,” said Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
“It is clear that civil society – and especially trade unions – must be involved in the decisions surrounding the implementation of this law, because workers are the first people affected by this technological revolution,” he said along with the President of the CSN, Caroline Senneville, via press release.
The Council also addresses disinformation that can be produced and spread using AI and is harmful to democracy.
“When it comes to democracy, AI could exacerbate disinformation and require proactive action from authorities to maintain election integrity,” the experts emphasize.
Photo Francis Halin
In an interview with the Journal last year, world artificial intelligence expert Yoshua Bengio said he feared that high-performance tools like ChatGPT could one day fall into the wrong hands.
“It only takes one election and we elect a dictator who will take over all means and control,” the Quebecer even went so far as to say.
A topic that also affects the cultural sector, because AI is changing the creation and distribution of content. A “modernization of copyright law to protect artists and improve the discoverability of Quebec cultural content on digital platforms” should be carried out.
The Quebec Innovation Council speaks of a “technological revolution” and calls for training to be provided to understand and use this technology, but wants the population to remain critical.
“Efforts are needed to educate citizens on AI issues, strengthen their critical thinking, and adapt educational programs from kindergarten to university to improve digital and AI literacy,” the report said.
In addition, the participating experts confirm that it is necessary to invest in the research and development of this technology in order to consolidate its position as a global leader in this field.
“To enhance digital transformation and support economic and social development, it is crucial to strengthen academic research, business innovation, technological infrastructure and access to Quebec data,” they argue, also affirming that the State of Quebec must do its part to become a model.
Quebec “needs to strengthen and accelerate the implementation of its AI governance framework, taking into account recent technological advances such as generative AI.” This includes the creation of a public register of AI systems and comprehensive risk analysis tools for public administration,” the council says .
In particular, he points out that AI offers potential in the fight against climate change, but its environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions and pollution associated with the extraction of rare metals, must be assessed and limited.
“It is recommended to support research on the environmental impact of AI and develop methods to assess its ecological footprint.”
The 5 main axes of the report
1. Monitor artificial intelligence and ensure agile governance.
2. Anticipate the changes brought about by AI and adapt Quebec's institutions.
3. Train the nation to benefit all Quebecers from AI and promote the responsible adoption of AI.
4. Drive AI research and development and turn our researchers and entrepreneurs into responsible AI leaders.
5. Position the state of Quebec as a pioneer and role model in AI.