I did an interview!

Last September, I had the chance to participate in an interview for the “Guide de l’Ingénieur” (i.e.: the Engineer’s guide), a special edition of the French magazine L’Usine Nouvelle that focuses on science and technology. Thanks to the journalist Christophe Bys, 3 other engineering students and I were offered the opportunity to meet with the leader of BCG Gamma, Sylvain Duranton, and ask him a few questions.


It is a nice Tuesday morning, calm and sunny. Nine o’clock. I get out of the subway and head towards Morning Coworking‘s premises at République, in Paris. Today, I am supposed to meet with 3 students from various engineering schools and Christophe Bys, journalist at L’Usine Nouvelle, to prepare an interview with Sylvain Duranton. Mr. Duranton is currently the global leader of BCG Gamma, the branch of the Boston Consulting Group that is dedicated to AI. Christophe Bys decided it was time we students made our voice heard and got an opportunity to ask him about all possible AI-related topics: studies,  skills, the public’s opinion, ethics, feminization…

The “Guide de l’Ingénieur” has just been published! Here is a preview of the magazine and the interview.

Preparing the interview

When I arrive to the coworking office space, I meet with the other students: Nancy de Freitas Camara (from the Efrei school), Romain Zimmer (from the ENS and Télécom Paris Tech schools) and Mathieu Arguelle (from the Insa school in Lyons). And this morning, I represent my school: Polytech Sorbonne. The journalist is here too, and we quickly jump in a sparkling 2-hour brainstorming. Through a lively and productive discussion, Christophe Bys and us cover various subjects: from the importance of a rich associative life to the lack of parity engineers are often faced with, we try and think of both social and technological issues.

In the end, we have written down more than twenty questions; it will be difficult to keep it short and respect the 1,5 hour time constraint next week! Fortunately, the pros will be here to help and coach us: Christophe Bys will be here to conduct the event, Sybille Aoudjhane will record some questions for the videos in the online articles and Pascal Guittet will take pictures.

The big day

The following Monday, the seven of us regroup to meet with Sylvain Duranton at BCG Gamma’s headquarters, near the Assemblée Nationale. It’s a neat place, designed to provide people with both a creative and enjoyable working atmosphere – this is proven by the video game arcade cabinet in the cafeteria!

During an hour and a half, Romain, Nancy, Mathieu and I ask all our nagging questions: is the public knowledgeable enough about AI? is BCG Gamma linked with start-ups or university research teams? how valuable are soft skills for an engineer, truly? how are parity issues addressed?

Sylvain Duranton took the time to answer everything; the nice thing is we got an insight of a manager and engineer who has seen the birth of AI and its gradual evolution. He told us about his career, about how the environment of engineers has transformed, and how the public’s awareness of technology has changed…

To read/watch more…

It was a great experience and I am really glad I could be a part of it! It was nice meeting with such interesting persons and comparing our views on red-hot problems like AI. So thanks once again to Christophe Bys, Sylvain Duranton, Nancy, Mathieu and Romain for this moment!

The article has just been published in the “Guide de l’Ingénieur” special edition (it’s in French). Don’t hesitate to check out the website of L’Usine Nouvelle if you want to learn more. In particular, here are the direct links to the articles with our video questions:

References

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