Four scientists considered pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence, including a French and a Canadian, have been awarded the Spanish Princess of Asturias Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the Spanish-speaking world, for their “extraordinary” contribution in many areas.
The jury estimated that France’s Yan Le Kun, Canadian Joshua Bengio and Britain’s Geoffrey Hinton and Demis Hassabis, who received a joint prize in the science category, enabled the “full integration” of AI “into society”.
“Their contributions to the development of deep learning (+deep learning+) have enabled significant advances in areas as diverse as voice recognition (…), object perception, machine translation, strategy optimization, protein structure analysis, medical diagnostics and many more,” He said.
The jury added that given the breadth of disciplines in which these developments are applied, the “current and future impact” of their work “on the progress of society can be described as extraordinary”.
Yan Lu Kun, 61, Jeffrey Hinton, 74, and Yoshua Benjiu, 58, were already awarded the Turing Prize in 2018, considered the Nobel Prize for computer scientists.
For his part, Demis Hassabis, 45, was awarded the Wiley Prize for Biomedical Sciences in 2021 and was named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2017.
Jeffroy Hinton was the creator of so-called backpropagation algorithms in 1986, the tools with which he succeeded in designing a neural network called AlexNet in 2012, capable of recognizing objects with only 26% errors.
Yann Le Cun used these same backpropagation algorithms to create LeNet5 in 1989, a system that made it possible to recognize with sufficient certainty, for example, characters written on bank checks.
He was recently one of the promoters of the image compression system that makes it possible to view digital documents on the Internet, a technology that millions of people use every day.
Yoshua Bengio, for his part, specialized in probabilistic sequencing models, which over time made it possible to improve speech and handwriting recognition.
As for Demis Hassabis, he founded DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google that is developing a new AI system that is viable for research and capable, for example, of predicting “the structure of more than 350,000 human proteins,” according to the jury.
The Princess of Asturias Awards, awarded since 1981 in eight categories, awarded 50,000 euros.
They are named after the heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor, eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, and are handed over in October by the royal family in a ceremony in Oviedo, Spain. Asturias (Northwest of the country).