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Get to know Ralph de Wargny, Founder & Director Intel® Liftoff for AI Startups

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This year’s Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris lived up to its tagline as “the Epicentre of Deep Tech”, featuring presentations led by industry experts like our very own Ralph de Wargny. Ralph joined a panel for the Grand Opening address: "The Future of AI: Responsible Collaboration and Co-evolution", where he shared his insights on open-source AI, education and Europe’s opportunity as a major player in the AI supply chain.

Eugenie_Wirz_0-1715161168125.jpegGrand Opening, Hello Tomorrow 2024: Ralph de Wargny, Intel Corporation, Maya Noël, France Digitale, Ben Zevenbergen, Google, and Niall Firth, MIT Technology Review.


Ralph’s Leadership and Vision


Before taking the helm at Intel® Liftoff, Ralph played a key role in leading Intel’s Software business across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with a focus on AI and high-performance computing, engaging with startups and established enterprises. 

He brought all of that knowledge and expertise to Intel® Liftoff, helping to provide AI startups with invaluable assets: technical expertise, cloud compute resources (including CPUs, GPUs, and Gaudi2 accelerators), and go-to-market support. This initiative reflects his belief in the transformative power of AI and his commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship in this field.


Advocating for Open Source and Sustainability


One of the topics Ralph addressed at Hello Tomorrow was his strong advocacy of open-source AI. He believes that open-source AI models are the key to fostering transparency and creating more opportunities for investment. They’re also essential for reducing dependence on Big Tech players, enabling the population at large to gain more control over their use of AI. In connection with this, Ralph envisions a future in which Europe takes a leading role in a more diversified and resilient supply chain for AI.

Ralph also emphasized the need to address the environmental and social impacts of AI development, citing the ever-increasing demand for energy to power the HPC infrastructure that sustains AI:

The demand is expected to grow around 10x over the next 2 years. By then, the world’s AI data centers will consume as much electricity as the whole of Japan. We need to push down the environmental impact of data centers by working on software optimizations and new hardware and infrastructures.  – Ralph de Wargny, Director of Intel® Liftoff for Startups.


A Vision for AI’s Role in Education and Industry


In addition to these pressing challenges, Ralph also drew attention to the immense opportunities that AI brings, especially when it comes to integrating AI models with the education system. Much like computers and the internet 2 decades ago, Generative AI is currently facing resistance from educational systems. But as education evolves to keep pace with the times, we can expect to see these models become as indispensable to education as the internet is today - presenting yet another exciting vista of opportunity for startups and investors in the years to come.

In contrast to the widespread alarm about AI replacing jobs, Ralph believes that these technologies will be a net positive, enhancing human capabilities and generating new opportunities for development. 


Keeping AI Transparency and Responsibility Top of Mind


Ralph also reflected on the importance of transparency. With GenAI technology now widely available, the space is wide open for innovators - or as Ralph puts it: “it’s a question of imagination”. But it’s also vital that those innovators imagine responsible and ethical solutions to emerging challenges: human and privacy rights cannot be compromised in the race to build bigger and more powerful systems.

In discussions with startups, Ralph frequently emphasizes these issues, reminding founders of the importance of transparency and explainability in AI systems. Knowing where data goes, how it’s used, and ensuring no private information is improperly collected are major concerns for legislators and the public at large. Startups who are able to respond to these concerns will be the big winners, which is why these values are so central to the Intel® Liftoff Program for Startups.


Intel® Liftoff at the Forefront of AI Innovation


Ralph de Wargny’s work at Intel® Liftoff is shaping the future of AI. His leadership is about crafting a sustainable and inclusive future for next-generation tech, nurturing ambitious AI startups with big ideas and helping them to bring them to fruition. 

Apply to the program today to advance your vision within a community of like minded innovators and creative thinkers.


About the Author
I'm a proud team member of the Intel® Liftoff for Startups, an innovative, free virtual program dedicated to accelerating the growth of early-stage AI startups.