Another favourite guest was an outlier named Bentley Meeker. An artist, lighting designer and CEO, who creates unique lighting environments for everything from concerts, to Burning Man, to galas, to Michelle Obama’s 45th birthday party. His talk was about humanity’s relationship with light, and how it’s in trouble. Let’s just say he’s not a fan of LED. He told us the only good light burns, and was the perfect segue to the brightest C2 star of them all.
Snoop Dogg. He took the stage late, obviously — the man’s a pro — and the big top exploded with fan’s cheers and whoops. Way more applause than any of the scientists got. Snoop was accompanied by his business partner, the always affable Ted Chung, along with their moderator, VICE’s Suroosh Alvi. They presented the duo’s cannabis brand to the Canadian market, talked weed and creativity, legalization in Canada, and with the help of the audience, a little about what justice might look like for the thousands of people serving prison sentences because they sold a little green. Also, we can’t not mention that Alvi was, in the words of Snoop himself, “high as a motherfucker.” Maybe take separate cars next time, guys.
Montréal is no stranger to AI, having positioned itself as a major hub, attracting big brains from around the world at breakneck speeds due partly to the unprecedented support of government at each level. Many of the major players are in fact already here: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, with more on the way. The academic side is just as well represented with MILA (Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms), and Element AI, a Montreal-based incubator that announced a Series A funding round of $102 million in 2017 and is now the go-to place for companies seeking to include AI solutions to their businesses. According to Yoshua Bengio — Canada’s resident machine learning guru — at least 100 researchers are exploring deep learning at the University of Montréal and about 50 others are doing similar work at McGill.
Speaking of Bengio — in a time when technology seems culture-encircling huge, it would have been nice to hear more from philosophers of his stature on how the technology will irreparably alter our souls? C2 should consider adding fiction writers, poets, musicians, artists and filmmakers who have something profound to say about tech in society. How are they coping with the looming 4th industrial revolution?