Researchers believe Monday's release from the Quebec Innovation Council (CIQ) should now prompt the government to better show Quebecers the concrete benefits of the $7.5 billion in public money invested in its strategy.
On Monday, the Quebec Innovation Council (CIQ) released a 165-page guide with recommendations on how to regulate artificial intelligence (AI).
While Quebec plans $7.5 billion by 2027 in its Quebec Strategy for Research and Investment in Innovation (SQRI2), researchers told the Journal they now expect better accountability to better understand where the money is going.
“This research is largely funded by public funds. We should be able to quantify these benefits,” lamented Éric N. Duhaime, a researcher at the Institute for Research in Contemporary Economy (IREC), in an interview with the Journal.
Researcher Eric N. Duhaime. Photo Pierre Paul Poulin
“If we fully publicly fund research, this investment must pay off. It requires public participation in the intellectual property created or share capital,” he added. In his opinion, this is still often lacking.
“We are talking about public money for companies that are either acquired, like Element AI, or go bankrupt, like Imagia,” denounced Myriam Lavoie-Moore, researcher at the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS).
Four years ago, the sale of Element AI to the American company ServiceNow, loaded with public money, caused a shock wave. Today, the foreign company, which still has an office in Montreal, is lobbying to sell its products in the state of Quebec.
According to IRIS's Myriam Lavoie-Moore, too much public money still flows to organizations that are not sufficiently accountable to taxpayers.
“There is no transparency. It is not known how much the managers earn. It's all very opaque. “These are non-profit organizations that are controlled by the private sector,” she emphasized.
Five years ago, Le Journal reported that Hélène Desmarais, administrator and philanthropist, was at the helm of institutions and organizations that had received nearly $300 million of the billions granted by Quebec and Ottawa.
Earlier on Monday, during a press conference on the impact of artificial intelligence, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon emphasized that a lot of money had been invested so far “in basic research in the field of AI.”
“We also created the AI Forum. “This forum is intended to give money back to other institutions,” explained the minister in charge of innovation.
The IA Québec Forum was founded in April 2020. Its board is chaired by Pierre Boivin, president and CEO of Claridge, an investment company “representing the interests of the family of Stephen Bronfman,” as noted on its website.
Provided by Forum IA
“We will encourage all organizations that have the ability to help us innovate faster with applied AI, within the framework established with the governance,” explained Pierre Fitzgibbon.
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