Food for Thought

September - November
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Raymond Building R2-045

Macdonald Campus
21,111 Lakeshore Road
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, H9X 3V9
Free parking available
(Horticulture parking lot - directions)
For info: 514-398-7707

Our annual Food for Thought Public Lecture Series is entering its 20th season of bringing timely science topics to the community: our neighbours, alumni, students, staff and faculty! 

This season, we will be looking at the fast-growing and fascinating world of artificial intelligence.

AI – exploring notions of AI and its implications for human activity and identity

Let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list - fft.macdonald [at] mcgill.ca


Details will be available by mid-August


Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
AI and Humanity: Annihilation or Integration?

Food for Thought is joining forces with the A. Jean de Grandpré Distinguished Speaker Series to bring you our first public lecture for 2019.

Registration will open mid-August.


Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
AI in Agriculture: Where do we go from here?

Ramen Dutta, Tenso AI

Ramen Dutta is a Quebec based entrepreneur. With a background of studies in Agricultural Engineering at McGill and a decade of work in IT as a system administrator and programmer, he is currently contributing to the changing landscape of global agricultural practices and food technology by developing tools and solutions to streamline and optimize a variety of systems.

Co-founder of Motorleaf, a leader in the field of AgTech, he devised and developed the initial technology that propelled the company toward its current success in crop monitoring and yield prediction. His most recent project, Tenso AI, is focussing on the impact that federated learning and AI can have on food production and transformation.

AI already plays a significant role in food production and transformation. With mounting pressure to optimize cleaner and more sustainable agricultural practices, the need to further develop AI scope and capabilities is paramount. In this talk, Ramen will detail some of the current technologies utilized in data collection; highlight current applications of AI; and discuss the impact new technologies will have on the changing landscape of food production and transformation.


Tuesday, OCTOBER 8, 2019
Why do humans tell stories? What AI can tell us about the meaning of fiction

Andrew Piper, Professor and William Dawson Scholar, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, McGill University

Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. He is the director of .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill, and the author most recently of Enumerations: Data and Literary Study (Chicago 2018). His work has been featured in the Guardian, the Atlantic, the New Republic, La Presse, and on the CBC.

In this talk Andrew will introduce the audience to ways researchers are beginning to use tools like machine learning and natural language processing to understand narrative storytelling. The ability to assess much larger amounts of data allows us to better infer the social function that storytelling plays in society. What do fictional stories have in common, across time and languages, and what might these commonalities tell us about why we enjoy telling stories?


Tuesday, OCTOBER 22, 2019
Precision Agriculture and the Future of Commercial Farming

Viacheslav Adamchuck, Associate Professor, Chair of Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University

Viacheslav Adamchuk is a professor and the Chair in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada) and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA). He leads a Precision Agriculture and Sensor Systems (PASS) research team that focuses on the development and deployment of proximal soil and crop sensing technologies to enhance the economic and environmental benefits of precision agriculture. Since he began his research in the mid 90s, Dr. Adamchuk developed and evaluated a fleet of on-the-go soil sensor prototypes capable of mapping physical and chemical soil attributes while moving across an agricultural field. These sensors produce geo-referenced data to quantify spatial soil heterogeneity, which may be used to prescribe differentiated soil treatments according to local needs. Along with his work on sensors, Dr. Adamchuk has conducted numeric analysis of the agro-economic value of sensor-based information to aid in the successful deployment of emerging on-the-go sensing technology. Through studies on soil and crop sensor fusion and data clustering, he was able to further investigate the challenges faced by early adopters. Through his outreach activities, Dr. Adamchuk has taught a number of programs dedicated to a systems approach in adopting smart farming technologies around the world. These include active involvement in standards development, setting up pilot commercial projects and emphasis on the system approach to the evolution of agricultural production complex.


Tuesday, NOVEMBER 5, 2019
AI for better treatment of depression

David A. Benrimoh, MD,CM., MSc, McGill Department of Psychiatry; Aifred Health

Dr. David Benrimoh is a psychiatry resident at McGill and graduate of McGill Medical School and UCL's Neuroscience MSc. A researcher in computational psychiatry, Dr. Benrimoh is also Chief Science Officer and co-founder at Aifred Health, which is developing AI powered tools to help clinicians treat patients with depression.


Tuesday, NOVEMBER 19, 2019
How can Indigenous knowledge help shape AI?

Karina Kesserwan, BCL/LLB’07, Lawyer and Strategic Advisor, Kesserwan Arteau

Karina Kesserwan is a lawyer, strategic advisor, educator, and social entrepreneur. She has been working with Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations for close to 15 years.