The open letter1 signed by several personalities from the world of artificial intelligence (AI), including Yoshua Bengio and Catherine Régis, denouncing the urgency of acting on the adoption of the draft law on artificial intelligence and data ( LIAD) under Bill C-27 is entirely fair and serves the common good. Although it is essential to put in place clear regulations and laws to oversee AI, the attention paid to this debate should not obscure the benefits and the preponderance of AI in the development of future technologies. . It is just as crucial to think about how to better communicate its current and potential benefits for society so that it is better understood by the public.

In the service of aspects of pure science, applied science and technology, AI raises its share of concerns, by its complexity and its scope, which complicates its communication and popularization. Needless to say, the rapid pace of development and adoption of AI and the transformations it is bringing to our lives may give rise to legitimate concerns about our ability to understand and manage its impacts on society, knowledge, economy and people.

This is why it is essential to equip the population so that they acquire the knowledge necessary to understand AI systems at a minimum, but also to be able to question themselves and even question the data and algorithms in question. based on the reasons underlying their collection to collectively ensure the responsible use and development of this technology. In any case, greater technological and scientific literacy for citizens has become indispensable. It is our responsibility and that of our decision makers.

Artificial intelligence can be applied to many situations and research, so it is essential to explain its principles and concepts, addressing both the sensitive aspects and the benefits it can bring to the well-being of societies. The ethical and political questions raised by these technological advances are natural, but they should not hinder the research and development of solutions to global challenges such as climate change, pandemics and the economy. The ethics of technology must be able to develop at the same pace as the devices.

The lack of literacy on the subject can be detrimental to promising branches of AI development. Whether in climate action, security, accessibility, smart infrastructure and health, AI has already proven its effectiveness.

The research community therefore has an important role to play and must continue to actively participate in the education and popularization of this essential technology with considerable benefits. AI is now part of the curriculum of many educational and research establishments, as is the case at the École de technologie supérieure, and has become, in many areas of society, a tool of choice for optimization. processes, as is the case, for example, in engineering or construction.

It is therefore crucial to take into account the different perspectives and arguments and to weigh the pros and cons of the development of AI research, in order to adopt a balanced and responsible approach in the development and application of this technology. . It is by putting in place safety and ethics protocols for AI research, ensuring transparency and exploring new approaches emphasizing more decentralized, democratic and equitable models that we will ensure a balance between scientific advances, useful innovations and the preservation of safety and ethics to mitigate potential risks.

In our opinion, we must be careful that AI as a whole is not perceived negatively. It’s all about balance. The malicious use of AI and our ability as a society to respond, regulate and contain risks should instead be the primary concern.