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Yann Lechelle

Interview

Recorded live in Paris during France Digital Day (FDDay), this engaging conversation featuring Yann Lechelle, co-founding CEO of Probabl, is full of insights about the European tech landscape, its challenges, and Yann’s ambitious mission to change the game with Probabl.

The Birth of Probabl: FDDay Unveiling

FDDay served as the grand stage for Yann to unveil his brainchild, Probabl, along with a number of undisclosed cofounders. As co-founding CEO, he’s embarking on a journey to tackle the daunting challenge of machine learning at scale. But what sets Probabl apart is its commitment to open-source solutions. It’s not just about building AI; it’s about making it available to everyone, regardless of their size or resources. Yann kicked off the conversation by unveiling his ambitious mission with Probabl. His goal? To make AI accessible to all, leveling the playing field for entities of all sizes. It’s a mission baked right into the company’s bylaws, emphasizing the need for democratization and transformative change in the world of technology.

The origin story of Probabl is quite fascinating. Yann’s brainchild emerged as a response to a government-backed initiative aimed at promoting open-source assets for AI in France. The company’s mission is explicitly tied to fostering technological sovereignty within Europe, a concept he unpacks further in the podcast.

When it comes to funding, Probabl has kept its cards close to its chest. Yann mentions that it’s a work in progress. What’s intriguing, though, is that Probabl is a private-public initiative, emphasizing its mission rather than just the funding. The focus is on achieving the mission, regardless of the financials.

Photo by Igor Omilaev / Unsplash

The Urgency of Tech Sovereignty

When the topic of the European tech landscape today, compared to that of Silicon Valley in the U.S, comes up, Yann doesn’t mince words. He asserts that Europe is too liberal for its own good, highlighting the lack of protectionism in the region. In an age of global tech conflicts and the rise of AI, he argues that Europe must reduce its dependence on foreign technologies and promote its strategic interests.

As Yann Lechelle rightly points out, Europe has a rich pool of talent, but it’s time to harness that potential and pave the way for strategic independence. The world is becoming increasingly complex, and Europe must position itself as a formidable player in the global tech arena. Probabl’s mission to provide open-source solutions is a step towards ensuring that Europe’s values and interests remain at the forefront of technological innovation. It’s not just about catching up; it’s about leading the way.

Colorful code
Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Open Source vs. Open Weights

Yann sheds light on a critical distinction between open source and what he dubs “open weights.” He calls out the common practice of companies sharing model weight data while keeping the actual code proprietary. True open source, he argues, entails not just open weights but open access to the entire model’s source code.

Europe’s tech scene may have lagged behind its American counterpart, but with initiatives like Probabl and the Joint European Disruption Initiative (JEDI) that Yann is a part of, there’s hope for change on the horizon.

Yann’s vision of technological sovereignty, open-source AI, and a level playing field for all is a rallying cry for the European tech ecosystem. The challenges are enormous but it’s clear that Yann’s determined to address them head-on. Europe, it’s time to rise to the occasion, and Probabl might just be the catalyst we’ve been waiting for.

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