Thales Group, a multinational company specializing in electrical systems based out of France, has announced the five companies it has selected for its inaugural artificial intelligence acceleration program, AI@Centech, located in Montreal.

Along with one company from the U.S. (ICM Hub) and two companies from France (Fieldbox.ai and Delfox), two Canadian companies, Age of Minds and BlackBox, were selected to participate in the six month program.

Chris Muratet says that the focus on human-centric AI projects was a large factor in selecting the start-ups. Credit: MTL Connect

Christophe Muratet, the director of innovation and design for Thales North America, says that the focus of the selections was to find “human-centric” AI projects.

“We hear so many things lately about artificial intelligence and the place is going to take in our system in our lives,” said Muratet. “And for us, it’s very important to remind everyone that we are really looking at artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology, but one that will be primarily used to augment humans and to basically reduce the workload and reduce the pressure that we can have on a human that, again, are and will remain at the core of critical decisions.”

Additionally, Muratet says that selecting companies from across the globe was important to them because it brings the diversity to the program that they were hoping to achieve.

Over the course of the six-month program, the selected startups will receive technical and business coaching, support for raising funds, and access to Thales’ expertise in aerospace, space, transport, defence, and security industries.

BlackBox, which is based out of Montreal, is developing an AI program which scans video and audio files to generate keywords and summaries of every discussion within the file, thus enabling users to be able to find the desired information in a much more efficient manner.

“As a start-up, working with a global technology and innovation leader like Thales is a great opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and access the group’s five core markets in the aerospace, space, transport, defence, and security sectors,” said BlackBox in a statement to IT World Canada. We are excited to join the AI@CENTECH program and build the foundations for a long and lasting partnership.”

Age of Minds, who are also headquartered in Montreal, is working to develop a training platform to teach AI agents by using AI-human interactions.

“Age of Minds aims at improving human and AI synergy by providing a safe digital place where they can share common experiences, develop a mutual understanding and elevate each other,” explained Age of Minds in a statement to IT World Canada. Thales is a leader in innovation and committed to investing in cutting-edge technologies, making our partnership through AI@Centech a natural and exciting one.”