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Artificial Intelligence: 4 French authors to help you gain knowledge

4 French authors help you to understand artificial intelligence

4 French authors help you to understand all the specificities of artificial intelligence.

Crédits photos : Andy Kelly (Unsplash)

Geolocation, social networks, autonomous cars, etc. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more and more present in our daily lives. Some people are scared or worried, but others are fascinated and consider it as the promise of a better future. France is very involved in Artificial Intelligence, as evidence of 4 authors.

From the Other Side of the Machine, a scientist’s journey to the land of algorithms

Aurélie Jean – Éditions de l’Observatoire

Scientist, entrepreneur, chronicler, ranked among the 40 most influential French women of the year 2019 by Forbes Magazine, Aurélie Jean is an expert! And yet, she invites us to discover the fascinating world of algorithms in a simple way: their origin, their construction, their means… That’s the power of her book that is extremely fresh. “Sharing knowledge with as many people as possible in an intelligible and didactic way should contribute to a scientist’s career.” The bet is a success for this book acclaimed by critics that shows the interest for AI in France.

When the Machine Learns

Yann Le Cun – Éditions Odile Jacob

Director of the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research laboratory (FAIR), one of the inventors of Deep Learning in the 1990s, Yann Le Cun is one of the few Frenchmen to have received the Turing Prize. His autobiographical book, which looks back at the history of AI and his career as a researcher, is enlightening. Yann Le Cunn is a researcher at heart but also a teacher, and remains therefore a very good instructor, apart from difficult passages in chapters 3 and 5 (with code lines as explanations). Despite his lucidity on the dangers and abuses of Artificial Intelligence, he is still convinced that it “will become more present and deeply transform economic life in the next decade” as did the steam engine, electricity and computers.

Understanding the revolution of Artificial Intelligence

Stéphane d’Ascoli – First Édition

This young researcher is also part of FAIR, after a passage at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Teacher’s Training College). “A gap is being built between those who are interested in AI and those who don’t dare to look into the subject. My goal is to try to fill in that gap”. In line with Yann Le Cun, his book is fascinating and didactical and explains all the particularities of Artificial Intelligence: algorithms, machine learning, deep learning, and its main uses. For him, AI is not risk-free (military abuse, environmental impact), but Stéphane d’Ascoli reassures the readers and focuses on “ethical” AI in a chapter. To conclude, his book is “a forestate and [an invitation] to go further”.

Artificial Intelligence, the New Barbary

Cédric Sauviat and Marie David – Éditions du Rocher

The two engineers who graduated from Polytechnic don’t go in half measures in their book. They condemn the lack of reflection on the engineers’ responsibility and the harmful consequences of their creation on our society. The book entirely refutes the main discourse and warns of the irrevocable impact of AI. The preface of Matthew Crawford, American philosopher and academic, could sum up their book as a call to “beware of the technical-political alliance that mixes generalised surveillance and social control, under the guise of good intentions and technological mastery”. Necessary!

For a decade, the limits of Artificial Intelligence are continuously stretched. We need to establish restrictions (ethics, legislation, open source publication, etc.) to prevent research from coming only from the giants of the sector: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. The civil society must seize the subject and get decision-making power on the major transformation of our society announced and caused by AI. The better solution for a reappropriation of this technology is to begin by gaining knowledge. Those 4 French authors are helping in this process.

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Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Quantic Computing... are revolutionising or will revolutionise our society. Simply curious and fascinated by these new technologies, I share here my knowledge while trying to have a lucid and critical look.
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