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The 2020 Hubert Curien Memorial Lecture: Artificial Intelligence: Success, Limits, Myths and Threats

Event Details:

  • Date:          Friday 21 February 2020
  • Time:          Starts 18:30
  • Venue:       The Cyprus Institute - Events Room, 1st floor, Novel Technologies Building, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker:    Prof. Marc Mézard, Director of Ecole Normale Supérieure

The 2020 Hubert Curien Memorial Lecture

Artificial Intelligence: Success, Limits, Myths and Threats

Prof. Marc Mézard
Director of Ecole Normale Supérieure

21 February 2020, 18:30
Novel Technologies Laboratory
The Cyprus Institute


Pre-lecture reception at 18:00

The lecture will be in English and the event is open to the public.
Live streaming of the lecture will be available on The Cyprus Institute’s YouTube Channel
Live streaming is facilitated by the CySTEM project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 667942.
Images and/or recordings of our open public events may be used by The Cyprus Institute for dissemination purposes including print and digital media such as websites, press-releases, social media, and live streaming.


Artificial Intelligence is about to have a dramatic impact on many sectors of human activity. In the last ten years, thanks to the development of machine learning in “deep networks”, we have experienced spectacular breakthroughs in diverse applications such as automatic interpretation of images, speech recognition, consumer profiling, or playing the games Go and chess.
Algorithms are now competing with the best professionals at analysing skin cancer symptoms or detecting specific anomalies in radiology; and much more is to come. Worrisome perspectives are frequently raised, from massive job destruction to autonomous decision-making “warrior” robots.

In this talk, Prof Marc Mézard will open the black box of deep networks and explore how they are programmed to learn from data by themselves. This lecture will allow us to understand their limits, to question whether their achievements have anything to do with “intelligence”, and to reflect on the foundations of scientific intelligence.


About the speaker

Prof Marc MézardMarc Mézard is a theoretical physicist. He received a PhD from École Normale Supérieure in Paris, did a post-doc in Rome, and became the head of statistical physics group in Paris-Sud University. Since 2012 he is the Director of École Normale Supérieure. His main field of research is statistical physics and its use in various branches of science – biology, economics and finance, information theory, computer science, statistics and signal processing. In recent years, his research has focused on information processing in neural networks.
Prof Mézard has received the Lars Onsager prize of the American Physical Society, the Humboldt Gay-Lussac prize, the silver medal of CNRS, and the Ampere prize of the French Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences.


The Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures

The Cyprus Institute founded the Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures Series, in honor of the late Prof. Hubert Curien (1924-2005), a Trustee of CREF and founding Chair of its International Council. Prof. Hubert Curien, a physicist, is regarded as one of the most influential scientists and science policy makers of the 20th century. After an involvement in the French resistance at the end of World War II, Hubert Curien graduated from the École Normale Supérieure. His scientific work was devoted to crystallography and he became an Assistant Professor at Paris University at the age of 27 and Professor five years later.

He worked at CNRS as the Head of Physical Sciences Division and soon after as Director General. He served as Minister for Research (in several governments under the presidency of F. Mitterrand), but he never stopped teaching during all those years. He assumed a number of leading positions within European Science: President of the European Science Foundation, President of the European Space Agency, President of the Academia Europaea, President of CERN Council, as well as in France, where he had been President of Académié des Sciences de France and in numerous science boards.

He was highly respected for his devotion to science, his openness and his generosity to people. His contribution in the planning and realization of The Cyprus Institute was pivotal and profound.

Previous Hubert Curien Memorial Lectures

2019 Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development, and Member of The Cyprus Institute Board of Trustees
 Dr Janez Potočnik, Former EU Commissioner for Environment & Member of The Cyprus Institute Board of Trustees
Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council (ERC)
2015 Prof. Daniel Cohen, Professor of Economics at the École Normale Supérieure, at the Université de Paris-I and at the École d'économie de Paris, France
2014 Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Prize in Physics, Scientific Director IASS Potsdam, Former Director General of CERN
2012-2013 Edouard Brézin, former President of the French Academy of Sciences, Chairman of Board of Trustees of The Cyprus Institute, and Herwig Schopper, former Director General of CERN, Emeritus Trustee of The Cyprus Institute
2011 Anastasios P. Leventis, Director of the Leventis Group International Companies and Chairman of the A.G. Leventis Foundation
2010 Richard N. Cooper, Professor of International Economics, Harvard University, USA
2009 Apostolos P. Georgopoulos, Professor of Neuroscience, Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, USA
2008 Paul Crutzen (on his behalf Jos Lelieveld), Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Emeritus Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, and Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego, USA
2007 Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize in Medicine, Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, USA
2006 José Mariano Gago, Minister of Science and Higher Education, Portugal

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Additional Info

  • Date: Friday 21 February 2020
  • Time: Lecture starts: 18:30
  • Speaker: Prof. Marc Mézard
  • Co-organisers: Director of Ecole Normale Supérieure

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