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Luc Julia, CTO & SVP at Samsung Electronics
Luc Julia is a Franco-American engineer and computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). He is one of the designers of the voice assistant Siri and since 2012 has been Vice President of Innovation at Samsung Electronics and heads the Samsung Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Luc Julia studied at the National School of Telecommunications (now Télécom Paris), where he obtained a doctorate in computer science. In 1990, he joined France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) where he worked a few weeks before leaving for the United States to pursue his thesis. He first went to MIT and then joined Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International in Silicon Valley, where he worked as a researcher and received American nationality.
In 1997, Luc opened his own laboratory at SRI and founded the Computer Human Interaction Center (CHIC) the next year, a laboratory specializing in artificial intelligence. He then founded “BravoBrava! ” with billionaire Joe Costello, an incubator to develop high-tech startups. In 2000, he created the startup Orb that was sold to Qualcomm.
In 1997, he filed the patents for what would later become Siri with his friend Adam Cheyer. In 1999, they presented “The Assistant”, the predecessor of the voice assistant. He left the project before the Siri company was founded in 2007 (acquired in 2010 by Apple). He joined Apple in 2011 and stayed there for one year to help Adam Cheyer with the development of Siri.
In 2012, he joined Samsung as a vice president in charge of innovation and led a team of engineers working on new technologies related to the Internet of Things (IoT), data, and AI.
In 2018, Luc Julia founded the Samsung Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) in Paris following the presidential election of Emmanuel Macron, saying he wanted to “do something for France”. Vanity Fair ranked him twenty-second among the fifty most influential French people in the world. In 2019, he published Artificial Intelligence Doesn’t Exist, with the aim of deconstructing perceived ideas about artificial intelligence. He criticizes alarmist speeches on the dangers of AI and explained that he prefers the term “augmented intelligence”.
Who is your main source of inspiration 👩?
Blaise Pascal the French inventor, mathematician, philosopher, and physicist.
Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence in France. It was he who opened the doors to AI and who explained to me what it was. I especially appreciate the philosophical side he brings to science.
Douglas Engelbart, an early computer and internet pioneer. I met him at the Stanford Research Institute. He had the vision of what the internet could become. His work resulted in the creation of the computer mouse, the development of hypertext, networked computers, and the precursors to graphical user interfaces.
How do you keep learning on a daily basis?
First of all, I learn a lot from the people around me and who I meet. Interactions are my greatest source of learning. I learn what excites them and what inspires them. Of course, I always check the sources they give me.
Regarding technological news, I learn a lot from very classic sources like the news and newspapers. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter.
In French 🇫🇷:
➡️ Jérôme Colombain’s Nouveau Monde radio column on French news, which I consider to be very reliable.
➡️ Liberation, the French daily newspaper in France, founded in 1973 in the wake of the protest movements of May 1968.
In English 🇺🇸:
➡️ Wired, a monthly American magazine, published in print and online editions, that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and politics.
What are your favorite books 📚?
Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo because it has everything in it: adventure, mystery, etc. And, it takes place in Paris. This city has always represented something mythical for me. This book is beautifully written. And, even though it’s over 1,000 pages, it’s still a pleasure to reread.
The Palo Alto Syndrome by Loic Hecht (only available in French 🇫🇷) is my bedside book right now. This is a thriller novel, a story written by a journalist who came here to Silicon Valley and who has an interesting take on the techie community.
What is your favorite podcast 🎧?
I listen to a lot of podcasts especially right now with the pandemic. I try to make sure that what they share comes from reliable sources.
In French 🇫🇷:
➡️ Chez Jérôme et François a monthly podcast that talks about French news and behind the scenes of tech.
In English 🇺🇸, I listen to very specialized American podcasts on technology:
➡️ the Home Assistant Podcast, an especially tech-savvy podcast. Phil Hawthorne and Rohan Karamandi explore the newest Home Assistant release and the latest Home Automation news. Featuring guests who use or contribute to Home Assistant, the podcast aims to inspire new ways to make your home smarter.
The Smart Home Show about when IoT and AI come together, creating the intelligence of things, my favorite subject.
If you were to stay alone on an island and would only be allowed to bring one item, what would it be ?
I think I’ll take my collection of books and a bottle or two of wine. 😉
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