Element AI Opens London Office to Explore “AI for Good”

One of the most prominent Canadian AI companies is expanding internationally.

Element AI has announced they are expanding into Europe with an office in London, U.K. Julien Cornebise, a former Google DeepMind scientist, will be leading the new location, which will grow to include over 20 full-time researchers and employees and become a full stack office.

The London office will focus on “AI for Good” while also expanding Element AI’s unique partner-oriented network with various companies, educational outposts and government entities. This initiative supports Element AI’s co-founder Yoshua Bengio’s stance against harmful robots and AI—he even signed a letter with other Canadian AI leaders decrying the idea of “lethal autonomous weapons systems” last year.

The Montreal-based Element AI delivers AI applications to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, while also giving companies a competitive advantage.

The new Element AI outpost will have three core focus points to begin: leveraging AI to solve global issues by empowering NGOs, intergovernmental entities, and local actors; advance methodological research as needed by those applications; and promote and connect talented AI scientists in developing nations through fellowships and visiting scholar programs.

“Element AI’s expansion into Europe with a London office is our first step in collaborating with Europe’s top AI talent and connecting them with our extensive AI teams in Canada; all while working with several of the most prestigious organizations to leverage AI for Good,” said Jean-François Gagné, Element AI’s CEO and co-founder.

Cornebise was handpicked to lead the new office as his values directly coincide with the AI for Good ideology. He has applied AI to humanitarian issues in the past through collaborations with Amnesty International and co-founding the Health Research team while he was at DeepMind. Cornebise’s title will be director of research.

“AI for Good can mean many things—at Element AI, I see it as using AI and ML to empower those who are already fighting the good fights,” said Cornebise. “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are powerful tools that deserve deployment beyond industrial, market-driven applications. Amazing people in NGOs, international organizations, and local initiatives alike, have dedicated their lives to solving the most important problems, such as fighting for human rights, more equitable access to resources, and education.

Cornebise’s goal will be to provide those humanitarian organizations with access to the type of AI talent that is often out of reach even for some of the biggest companies in the world.

Element AI is perfectly positioned to make a big impact on the European AI scene, considering they raised $102 million USD in funding this past summer. The expansion abroad is not their first foray outside of Canada either, as the Montreal company was tasked to oversee a $45 million Global AI fund based in South Korea. Element AI also recently joined a Global AI partnership to design best practices surrounding the relatively new but exponentially growing technology.

Element AI is also a finalist in the Canadian Innovation Awards‘ Startup of the Year category, so make sure to vote for them before February 2.