Artificial intelligence benefitting workers

L'intelligence artificielle au service des travailleurs - GSoft

Self-driving cars. Assembly line robots. Virtual assistants. Will artificial intelligence end up replacing humans? What if it actually made our jobs easier? GSoft takes a stand.

We want to create products that make sense above all else. Our job is to develop technologies that help people at work or improve work life, and we’re not going to stray from that.

Research on artificial intelligence (AI) has been going on for a while now, but computers nowadays increasingly awe-inspiring; from their capacity to process information in real time to their ability to store massive amounts of data, it’s no wonder AI advancements have soared of late. “There’s nothing mysterious about it, but it is revolutionary in the sense that it transforms practices,” recalled scientific historian Yves Gingras at the Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec congress in 2018.

“Forget about robots invading our cities,” stated Yoshua Bengio, Université de Montréal professor and specialist in the field of AI (also March 2019 recipient of the Turing award, otherwise known as the “IT Nobel prize”) at the Montréal Canadian Club conference. “We’re still a ways away from human-level intelligence, but let’s just say that today’s artificial intelligence can perform tasks we would normally associate with intuition. For example, the ability to understand an image, a text, a sound,” he explains.

Making work easier

“As a rule, what we’re trying to do with artificial intelligence is reproduce human decisions, but to lengths unimaginable to humans,” sumps up Étienne Labrie-Dion, data and AI scientist at GSoft’s GLab. By integrating AI into certain products, workers are able to cut back on repetitive or arduous tasks and develop their full potential.

Snoozit, for example, is a new tech solution developed by GLab that performs tasks too vast to be carried out by humans. The app detects employee patterns, like work pace and schedules, and determines optimal start/stop times for the company’s virtual machines. What if an employee changes his/her schedule? The algorithm picks it up and adjusts accordingly.

So what once would have been incredibly time-consuming (ex. manually configuring computers to turn on and off remotely) can now be done in a single click. “With Snoozit, IT managers can now focus on the more important aspects of their jobs,” underlines Étienne Labrie-Dion. In addition to affording greater flexibility, this type of system generates energy savings and reduces costs.”We’re sometimes oblivious to it, but cloud infrastructure costs cover a wide range of resources, often wasted or underutilized,” he adds.

GLab has its sights set on additional uses of AI. What if, say, we could detect trends in the comments left on Officevibe? The tool, developed by GSoft, allows companies to survey their teams in an automated manner. By integrating AI, for example, we’d be able to summarize the employee comments section, and give managers the results, a mammoth undertaking when a company seeks feedback from its thousand employees!

Ethics at the heart of GSoft’s projects

Artificial intelligence could very well have a promising future at GSoft, primarily given the company’s location. “We have access to a wealth of experts and candidates in Montreal. It’s super easy to get in touch with researchers,” comments Labrie-Dion. “Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for accomplishing what we’ve set out to do: to change work life with our products. AI allows us to create solutions that simply couldn’t have existed before,” explains Étienne.

That said, moderation is key. And rest assured: AI will not be integrated blindly into GSoft’s products. “We want to create products that make sense above all else. Our job is to develop technologies that help people at work or improve work life, and we’re not going to stray from that,” he stresses.

Before developing a product, the GLab team assesses potential risks, uses and consequences. “You need to take ownership. It’s easy to use artificial intelligence and pretend it’s always right. If you want to make a positive impact, you have to consider the consequences of your actions,” indicates Labrie-Dion.

At GSoft, ethics is paramount when it comes to implementing artificial intelligence technologies. In addition to individual efforts made by companies, and their dedication to transparency, clear AI legislation is required to ensure the private sphere and the right to oblivion are respected. “It’s going to take clear legislation in Canada to lay the groundwork for AI. Hopefully a balance is reached and we can continue to innovate freely,” concludes Étienne Labrie-Dion.

Étienne Labrie-Dion

Étienne Labrie-Dion

I’m a trained scientist: I spent 10 years working in the fields of neuroscience and microscopy. I’m passionate about the impact of data analysis on the world, and for that reason, I recently transitioned into data science and artificial intelligence. I adore solving complex problems. I’m inspired by visionaries like Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind. I think the buzz surrounding AI today in Montreal is but the start of something huge!

More Tech X Humans

Explore the future of work


Kim Scott talks candor, kindness, and communication.

Dive in

When risk-taking fuels innovation

Dive in

When empathy fuels innovation

Dive in

When curiosity fuels innovation

Dive in

When collaboration fuels innovation

Dive in

When resourcefulness fuels innovation

Dive in

GSoft innovation series

Dive in
Companies brilliantly reframing value to navigate uncertainty

Companies brilliantly reframing value to navigate uncertainty

Dive in
Gibson Biddle from Netflix at GSoft

Product improvements: Insights from Gibson Biddle, former VP Product at Netflix

Dive in
Entrepreneuriat : avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre (Partie II)

Have your entrepreneurial cake and eat it too, part II

Dive in
Have your entrepreneurial cake and eat it too, part I

Have your entrepreneurial cake and eat it too, part I

Dive in

Software development: Which methods work best?

Dive in
Sophie Choukah, From SEO to Web Development

Becoming a Web Developer: Sophie’s Atypical Career Path

Interview with Sophie ChoukahDive in
Team self-selection for developers

Team self-selection for developers: Awesome or awkward?

Interview with Philippe LavoieDive in

Can concern for ROI stifle innovation?

Interview with Guillaume Chalifoux & Jean Gabriel CrevierDive in

Work culture: (Re)empowering employees

Interview with Janie PoirierDive in
Failure in innovation

One of our products went belly up. What now?

Interview with Eric RouthierDive in
Officevibe Cafe

At last! Peer-to-peer support for managers

Interview with Virginie LehmannDive in
Why emotions matter?

Recruitment: Why emotions matter?

Interview with Florian PradonDive in
Innovation starts with people

Innovation starts with people

Interview with Guillaume ChalifouxDive in

Making great strides as humans, thanks to work and our workplace

Interview with Valérie Gobeil & Cyril BoisardDive in
intelligence is a group thing

At GSoft, intelligence is a group thing

Interview with Mathieu HétuDive in
BCorp Defining success in business differently

B Corp: defining success in business differently

Interview with Catherine Salvail & Catherine Ouellet-DupuisDive in