The historic walls of The Walper Hotel pulsated with the spirit of collaboration and innovation as the tech community gathered for an AI Workshop, followed by the annual Communitech CEO Dinner on Tuesday.

“Tonight is all about connecting with our incredible community and celebrating the significance of tech for good in Canada,” Chris Albinson, CEO of Communitech, said as he welcomed a crowd of over 100 founders. “As AI evolves rapidly, supporting founders striving to use this technology responsibly is paramount. Canada stands ready for ethical AI advancement.”

​​The CEO Dinner is an annual tradition that fosters connections and strengthens bonds among C-suite leaders in the tech ecosystem.

“This was our first CEO Dinner post-pandemic and the turnout was amazing,” said Alison Vreeswyk, Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development at Communitech. “This shows how excited everyone is to reunite and mingle. These gatherings reaffirm our commitment to providing valuable networking opportunities and support for our members' growth.”

Rachel Rodrigues, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Canada Program Director, took to the stage to highlight different programs available for founders.

“The Entrepreneur Of The Year Program at EY celebrates and supports Canadian entrepreneurs by recognizing their achievements. Winners from five regions compete nationally and globally, shaping the tech community,” she said. “Entrepreneurs, especially women and those from Black and Indigenous communities, can benefit from programs like Entrepreneurial Winning Women and the Entrepreneurs Access Network. Being an entrepreneur is challenging but rewarding, and we're here to help you succeed.”

As connections formed over conversations and cocktails, Ramy Nassar, founder of 1000 Days Out, Olive Fintech Group and the AI Leadership Institute, delivered a keynote speech to address AI advancements and the importance of responsible AI developments.

Reflecting on several examples from the real world, including Deep Blue, Diplomacy and the game of Go between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo (a five-game Go match between Sedol and a computer Go program), Nassar discussed AI’s ability to understand complex human interactions.

“We've transitioned from tools rooted in pure logic to something sacred,” said Nassar. “The AI algorithm, developed by Meta, ranks among the top 10 per cent of players globally, showcasing its ability to form alliances, navigate trust and employ strategic deceit in games like Diplomacy.

This demonstrates AI's advancement into generative AI, blending large language models, natural language processing and deductive reasoning.”

Nassar also highlighted four key developments in the state of AI, the first one being democratization.

“We are massively democratizing and making accessible not only large language models, but all different types of games,” he said. “These tools are either free or available at very low cost, making them incredibly powerful and accessible to the masses.” The other two developments that Nassar spoke of were multimodal AI and edge AI. “We're witnessing the rapid emergence of multimodal AI, enabling seamless communication across different media types like images, video, audio, and text, which is crucial for applications like clinical trials,” he said. “Edge AI, or the ability for devices to run algorithms locally, presents immense potential for positive environmental impact while addressing privacy concerns.”

Finally, Nassar discussed how organizations are being held accountable for the outputs of their AI systems.

“Air Canada, for instance, was held accountable for providing a traveller with the wrong ticket price generated by AI, resulting in a refund of $888,” he said. “Despite attempts to claim separation from the responsibility, the tribunal ruled otherwise. This underscores the growing importance of accountability in AI applications, signalling just the beginning of this trend.”

In an interactive workshop tailored for tech founders held earlier in the day, Nassar explored the impact of AI on businesses, employees and the global community. Facilitating engaging discussions, he organized participants into groups and encouraged them to address key questions across three roundtable sessions.

Themes such as revenue metrics, competitive advantage, ethical considerations and customer experience emerged in the business impact roundtable. Employee engagement, ethical communication, change management and skills development were highlighted in discussions on employee impact. The roundtable on global community impact revealed themes like health tech integration, sustainable innovation and national collaboration.

“It's truly inspiring to witness leaders from diverse organizations and industries, all immersed in technology, come together around common questions,” Nassar said. “Despite our varied backgrounds, we're discovering remarkably similar perspectives and uncovering common themes.”