Coronavirus contact tracing app ready for rollout, says Montreal AI institute

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One of the world’s leading artificial intelligence research institutes is ready to offer governments across Canada a contact-tracing smartphone application for COVID-19 infections that it promises will protect users’ personal data and help predict future viral outbreaks.

Montreal-based Mila, the Quebec AI Institute run by computer scientist Yoshua Bengio, says its application is almost ready for use across the country.

On Friday, Mylene Drouin, head of public health in Montreal, told reporters that early next week, her office will be reviewing smartphone applications that can trace COVID-19 infections. The new application created by Mila is on her list, Valerie Pisano, the institute’s CEO and app project lead, confirmed in an interview.

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Pisano said she didn’t know whether the Quebec government was ready to choose their application. But she and Bengio have an appearance scheduled Sunday night on Quebec’s popular television show, Tout le monde en parle, to launch the app.

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Pisano said Mila is in talks with several provinces and with the federal government about how to launch the application nationwide.

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