Cedric Villani explains why AI has led to a 'flip of the cards' in the scientific community

Cedric Villani explains why AI has led to a 'flip of the cards' in the scientific community

Sponsored by LREM MP Cédric Villani, the first parliamentary forum on artificial intelligence (AI), held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the Maison de la Chimie in Paris, highlighted the essential challenges that France must meet to become a champion in the field.

On this occasion, the mathematician honored by the Fields Medal in 2010 returned to the history of AI, which has “a universal side” since “it challenges everyone” and “not a single subject is spared” by the field, he said.

He explained that in the scientific community, AI has had a radical change on a particular profession:

“In scientific terms, AI has enabled a folding of the cards. In the old days, there was a condescension of scientists towards statistics. In the 80s, Princeton University even closed its statistics department. Today is the big rematch. Statisticians are the most in-demand profiles, with the most attractive salaries.”

According to a study by Robert Half on remuneration, in 2018, a data analyst should earn between 45,000 and 70,000 euros per year in gross, according to his experience, while a data scientist would receive between 45,000 and 85,000 euros per year in gross salary.

These amounts do not include a possible variable between 5 and 20% of the annual gross fixed salary from which these two functions can benefit, specifies the study of the international recruitment firm.

During his speech, Cédric Villani also recalled that there is still a lot of research to be done in the field of AI and that “even the best experts are far from understanding what they are talking about,” citing a discussion he had recently had with Frenchman Yann Le Cun, director of the artificial intelligence department of Facebook.

The LREM deputy in charge of the IA mission added that explanations and training were essential in the field:

“This is a topic to be explained at all levels, on the operability of results and algorithms is paramount”.

Cédric Villani, who said he had met with more than 250 actors in the field as part of his mission, finally noticed that “the discussion on AI is becoming sectoralized. Depending on the company, it is necessary to start the process from scratch.”

In the health sector, the mathematician had said in a previous interview with the JDD that algorithms will not replace doctors in the future and that he believed more in a man-machine alliance that will make it possible to make better medical diagnoses.

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