Windsor's tech week will delve into the future of artificial intelligence

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell


The highlight of  Windsor’s upcoming tech week boasts an influential female panel from tech giants Amazon, IBM Canada and General Motors.

Addressing the future of artificial intelligence at Tech Week YQG ( will be: Windsor native Lillian Reaume, Amazon’s director of human resources; Tecumseh’s Debbie Landers, vice-president of cognitive solutions for IBM Canada; and Daphne Zargar, global manager of partner relations at GM.

The all-female panel discussion Nov. 14 at St. Clair College’s Centre for the Arts will be a keynote event for what will be Windsor’s first tech week (Nov. 13-17).

“We have a great technology community and it’s time we started to showcase our region,” said Matt Marchand, president of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Having a technology week rather than just the one-day tech show (which was held in previous years) is a chance to tell our story.”

Joining the chamber and WEtech Alliance as co-sponsors of the event are St. Clair College and the University of Windsor.

Windsor and Detroit’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters has helped put a sharper community focus on technology, said WEtech Alliance president and CEO Yvonne Pilon.

“It’s a nice coincidence. Because of the bid, people are more interested in tech, and that’s what we’ve been trying to get for years,” she said.

The focus on artificial intelligence, which is were the tech sector is headed, will help move the annual event away from its previous trade show format, Marchand said.

“We’re already using it even if we don’t notice it. It’s in appliances, cars, smartphones,” he said. “It anticipates what we want by the suggestions that pop up on our Facebook pages.”

Traditional lines defining tech industries are blurring as the tentacles of technology become ever more entwined in our daily lives, Pilon said. “By 2020 experts are saying we’ll have more conversations with bots than our spouses.”

Tech Week YQG will kick off Nov. 13 with a panel discussion on the state of the tech community in Windsor. An inaugural innovative digital competition for all ages is Nov. 15, which will also include workshops on human resources best practices, tools for growing tech companies, and technical resume and interview workshops.

The Georgie Odette Leadership Symposium on Nov. 16 will allow participants to mingle with business leaders and will feature Twitter Canada managing director Rory Capern. The week wraps up Nov. 17 with the Nerd Olympics and the inaugural Tech Awards.

Tickets for the tech show are $25 until Oct. 31 and $30 thereafter. Student tickets are $15. To purchase tickets, visit the chamber’s website.