Photo of Paul Duan

Artificial intelligence & robotics

Paul Duan

His NGO uses big data and AI to solve the world’s problems and become the 'United Nations of technology'
Nicolas Divet

Year Honored

Bayes Impact


Hails From

If Uber can use algorithms to coordinate the deployment of its cars, why can’t a city do the same for the deployment of its ambulances? This is the question posed by Bayes Impact, an NGO based in California (USA) and Paris (France), which is trying to solve social problems with artificial intelligence (AI). The person behind Bayes Impact is the young Paul Duan, whose initiative has made him one of the winners of Innovators under 35 Europe 2018 from MIT Technology Review.  Duan decided to leave his job at Eventbrite in Silicon Valley (USA) to give back to society what he himself had received. The founder of this technological NGO admits that his colleagues based in the cradle of innovation did not understand what the purpose of his project was, if it was not to earn money. He has shown them that technology can revolutionise the world without having to pay for it.

He affirms that from Silicon Valley he learned that it is not enough to have a goal, but that you have to give everything to achieve it. This is why Bayes Impact works in the "intersection between technology and the social sector". His biggest project is Bob Emploi, a job search tool created in coordination with the French Government. The platform uses artificial intelligence to give personalised advice to unemployed people in France. To improve their job search, the platform asks them questions and analyses their answers based on the current labour market.

Duan’s work and that of the whole Bayes Impact team has been recognised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and he was chosen in 2015 as one of the under-30s spotlighted by Forbes magazine. In the future the young man states that Bayes Impact, his "life project", aspires to become something like "the United Nations of technology" and to continue to create projects similar to Bob, putting them into effect all over the world.

Emmanuel Touboul, head of the BNP Paribas start-up programme L’Atelier and a member of the jury for 2018’s Innovators Under 35 Europe, believes that this is a "unique project that could have a big impact on the world if it manages to get the necessary resources". Touboul appreciates Duan’s ambition to enlist the support of key players such as "Ashoka, Y Combinator and the Gates Foundation".

By Olga Rodríguez
Translation: Lisa Rushforth