The University of Montréal
and of artificial intelligence helping the blind
ntelligence is everywhere – even in everyday objects. The phenomenon is part of what we call artificial intelligence. In the near future, collaboration between Yoshua Bengio's team of researchers and HumanWare, a Drummondville company, will make it possible to design intelligent tools for the blind, based on advances in AI research here at Université de Montréal.
Simply put, artificial intelligence, is a way of teaching computers to make the data they compile “speak.” For blind people, a large quantity of images could be superimposed to create a sort of customized map, then converted into useful information to help them get around. Thanks to AI, it will be possible for the blind to “see” their surroundings.
Next-generation intelligent GPS devices will be able to indicate the locations of sidewalks, stoplights, buildings and the many obstacles that blind people encounter when moving about a city.
This is just one example of the dozens of concrete applications that could become reality with artificial intelligence. Already, AI is now being used by doctors to refine and speed up diagnoses, and in “smart homes” to manage electricity consumption, among other applications. Digital intelligence is also found in telecommunications, transportation, science and business.
What makes Bengio’s work so special is its quality, of course, for he is currently one of the global leaders in AI research. But it is also the social ethics behind his research. Advancing knowledge in artificial intelligence raises many questions, and Bengio considers them all, aiming for sustainable, responsible and safe development in his discipline.
Yoshua Bengio is a Professor in the Computer Science and Operational Research Department of Université de Montréal. He is also the Scientific Director of the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), bringing together researchers in data science from HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal. He is a pioneer in the development of “deep learning,” a specialized field focusing on computers’ ability to not only carry out commands but also learn to perform specific tasks.
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