Skip to main content

World-class experts unite to imagine a digital future

President’s Speaker Series begins next week, features an impressive lineup
January 9, 2018

Google Canada’s Quebec managing director, Facebook’s Canadian public policy head and a vice-president from Ubisoft are just some of the high-profile people headed to Concordia this winter to discuss digital futures.

The Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures brings together an impressive line-up of people from the social media, government, gaming, cinema, artificial intelligence and academic sectors.

“We’ve invited thought leaders who will share their perspectives and help us reflect on the various dimensions of our current and evolving digital reality,” says Guylaine Beaudry, vice-provost of Digital Strategy and university librarian.

The series is part of an initiative to realize a digital strategy for Concordia that will identify the university’s priorities, what it means to embrace a digital reality, and how to create an environment where digital literacy is part of our culture.

“We live in a rapidly changing world where technological advancements have an impact on our daily and work lives,” says Beaudry.

'It's more than just software and hardware'

The university’s development of a digital strategy is one of five transformational projects being undertaken this year as part of the Strategic Directions initiative to position Concordia as a next-generation university.

Beaudry sees many opportunities for Concordians to come together to discuss how the university can create a digital culture that is responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff.

“There are many facets to creating a digital strategy. It’s more than just software and hardware,” she says.

“It’s about people and how we will prepare our students, and even our faculty and staff, for the major shifts that are occurring.”

For example, two speakers will talk about artificial intelligence (AI) in April.

“AI is here now, and it is something we need to explore, especially since Montreal is becoming a leader in the field,” Beaudry says.

The Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, based at the Université de Montréal, has received funding as part of an initiative to develop a pan-Canadian AI strategy. Its director, Yoshua Bengio, is a leading expert on deep learning and the author of a bestselling book on that topic.

“We are delighted that Yoshua and our other invitees have agreed to come to Concordia to contribute to this dialogue,” says Beaudry.

Another speaker, Shannon Vallor, will also address AI. The philosophy professor from Santa Clara University will look at how we can effectively use it to harmonize machine and human values, and how lessons learned can drive the development of a more humane future.

January 16 kickoff

The Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures starts on Tuesday, January 16 with Google Canada’s Marie Josée Lamothe.

In her talk, “Adapting to a digital world that is here to stay,” Lamothe will share her insights on how we can adapt as individuals, across all industries, in a digital world where amazing advances are being made.

Lamothe has been the Quebec managing director at Google Canada since 2014. She has overseen the incredible growth of the company’s presence in both Quebec and Canada and has played an active role in the latest “tech renaissance.”

An impressive line-up of confirmed speakers 

Marie Josée Lamothe

Tuesday, January 16 – Marie Josée Lamothe, managing director of Quebec, Google Canada

Kevin Chan

Monday, February 5Kevin Chan, head of public policy, Canada, Facebook and Instagram Inc.

Monday, February 12Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder/creative director, Félix & Paul Studios, award-winning filmmaker and Concordia graduate

Francis Baillet

Tuesday, February 20 Francis Baillet, vice-president of Corporate Affairs, Ubisoft and Concordia graduate

Michelle d’Auray

Thursday, April 5 Michelle d’Auray, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Canada to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Shannon Vallor

Thursday, April 19Shannon Vallor, William J. Rewak, S.J. Professor of Philosophy, Santa Clara University

Yoshua Bengio

Tuesday, April 24Yoshua Bengio, Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, Université de Montréal


Register today to attend the Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures this winter. All events are open to the public. Advance registration is required. Check here for times and room locations.

Back to top

© Concordia University