Cédric Villani says love can bring French artificial intelligence talents back to France

Cédric Villani says love can bring French artificial intelligence talents back to France

Frenchman Yann LeCun is one of the most well—known — and recognized – experts in artificial intelligence (AI) around the world.

He works not in France but in the United States, as director of the artificial intelligence (AI) division of Facebook, which he joined in 2013.

This is one example, among others, of the problematic French brain drain to the United States, in advanced fields such as artificial intelligence.

Asked by Le Point how France could convince these talents to come back to the country, Cédric Villani, LREM deputy in charge of the mission on AI, explained:

“We tell them we love them! They are given good salaries with good statuses that protect them from bureaucracy, good means of calculations… and voila! One can also imagine European return programs in exchange for subsidies.”

At the first parliamentary forum on AI last November, some speakers stressed that the differentiating element in AI would be the search for talent in the field. At the time, they were alarmed by the French brain drain in AI, who preferred to work for American companies like Facebook.

The entrepreneur Bruno Bonnell, deputy (LREM) of the Rhône, was thus moved:

“We don’t have to tell each other stories. That Facebook is setting up its research center in Paris is anything but great. It’s our AI talent, our ideas. We pump our ideas for cheap.”

Her colleague, Virginie Duby-Muller, Member of Parliament (LR) for Haute-Savoie, had considered that one of the obstacles to research in France and its attractiveness was the lack of synergies between public and private actors and too much supervised research that prevents innovation from moving forward.

At the beginning of December 2017, MP Cédric Villani launched a public consultation on AI so that citizens can contribute to the development of an ambitious national strategy because “this topic concerns us all”. You still have until tomorrow, January 6, 2018, to participate.

President Emmanuel Macron wants France to become a leader in the field of AI. But in order to achieve this, the country faces many challenges, which were discussed in particular at this first parliamentary forum on AI.

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