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Interview with Louis Bouchard

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Interviews,

Louis Bouchard

Louis Bouchard

Head of Artificial Intelligence at designstripe & YouTuber What's AI

Key Topics:Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, AI Ethics

Louis Bouchard is from Montreal, Canada, also known as "What's AI". He focuses on making AI accessible through his blog posts, newsletter, and YouTube videos. Louis trie to share and explain artificial intelligence terms and news the best way he can for everyone. His goal is to demystify the AI "black box" for everyone and sensitize people about the risks of using it.

Louis recently featured in Onalytica's Who's Who in AI? report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

My background is rather conventional and straightforward from where I come. I was one of the many who had no idea what to do with my life during high school. The one thing I knew was that I loved Sherlock Holmes but did not like violence, so the police force wasn’t really for me. I always wanted to do something other people would think was difficult to do but didn’t know what. I also got told I was good at maths, so I chose the easy path for me, which was in applied sciences at a Canadian college, which would open the most doors possible. Then, I still had no idea what to do, but I had good grades and had the freedom to choose, so I once again pursued the choice that would open most doors, which was in engineering, following most of my friends. I had no idea what engineering even meant at the time, and I discovered that I really didn’t like it. More specifically, my degree was automated production engineering, which meant that I was working with robots but stayed pretty general, studying maths, mechanics, electrics, programming, etc. Three years in and four 4-months internships, and I still did not know what to do with my life. I only knew that I did not want to work in a factory with robots without human interactions, which was the experience of most of my internships. I liked programming, but I hated that “lonely” side.

Fortunately, I discovered artificial intelligence in my last year. Or rather, I discovered computer vision and then AI. I loved it. I directly created an Instagram account to try and explain stuff I was learning to be sure I understood it correctly, it really helped me, and I aced my courses. I did my final year project in computer vision as well, and around that time started a YouTube channel to push myself to read more research papers and improve my speaking skills, which clearly worked. Please, do not watch the first videos I made!

I pursued a master’s degree in AI-computer vision research with an amazing supervisor called Matthew Toews, and I may continue with a Ph.D. sometime in the future. I am still thinking about it. In the meantime, I am working as a research scientist, and I love it. I always exchange with others to learn and improve what we are working on, and I love the theory and maths behind AI, which helps a lot in this field, working doesn’t feel like working at all, and this comes from someone that hated his previous jobs and went through them painfully. If you feel lost, just keep going and trying new things, do not give up. You will certainly find something that you enjoy doing and that you can make money out of. I discovered my passion at 23 years old, and there’s no shame even if you are older than that. Working in what you love is worth the time invested in its research.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about computer vision-related topics, but anything that involves AI interests me. I am also a big fan of ethics, psychology, and philosophy, which all come together in this field. AI, in general, is amazing. I love how it is literally applied mathematics, something that any young student doesn’t believe exists, and ask their teacher each year.

Who influences you within these topics?

I wouldn’t say that someone, in particular, influences me or my work. I follow a lot of very interesting and motivating people—both in the AI field and other fields. Just like in sports, I do not favor a team or a specific person. I just love what I do and the advancements or achievements in the field. I especially like the people who try to explain complex subjects simply in blogs, courses, or videos, which I look forward to the most when it comes to AI.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

I think the biggest challenges brands are facing in this space is ethics. Being responsible is something as important in AI as it is in your day-to-day life when you hold the door for someone. Of course, there are many technical challenges, but I believe we will always find a way to solve them, whereas some of us avoid responsibility, and this must not happen with such a technology. I believe governments should work even more with professors, researchers, and companies to better understand new technologies and how they will change our world and figure out how they can adapt our laws and governance to these new technologies faster and more reliably.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

I am not a futurologist, and I am a poor guesser. I can only say that I have no idea what will happen. I only know that humans will always work to improve technology and solve problems that we often create. Hardware will improve, and the software will follow, frequently getting back to older ideas that couldn’t be implemented due to lack of computing at the time. I believe more researchers should look into the 1950s-1990s research publications that couldn’t be successfully applied at the time and could change the way we see “AI” with today’s computing power.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Of course, the big brands are leading the way in this pace due to their computing power and the skills they hire. I especially love NVIDIA and how they work with researchers. I am affiliated with them, having access to early releases that I can speak about in my videos, and it has been amazing. Big entities like NVIDIA, Google, Amazon, Apple, etc., have the money and the skills to create new technologies. Still, they may have difficulties in applying them correctly. They must not forget to invest in tech ethic research and governance to respect everyone and our rights, which can be much more challenging than we can anticipate. Of course, I believe designstripe will lead in this space in the near future, respecting what I just said regarding ethics.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I would love to collaborate on speaking opportunities, interviews, or simply video/article coverage of new technologies. I would also love to collaborate on whitepaper or webinars, being a researcher myself. I’m pretty much interested in anything that allows others to learn something new or help them in any way.

What are your passions outside of work?

I love anything related to detective work, well-being (nutrition, sleep, our mind), and sports. Sports is a big passion of mine, and doing something sport-like is one thing I must do daily to feel good. I also love reading or listening to audiobooks while working out—anything about psychology, self-improvement, philosophy, etc. Please let me know any great read you recently had! If I had one recommendation to make, I would strongly suggest reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Waler as soon as possible in your life. Sleep is too often underrated.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Through email or LinkedIn.

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