AI is nothing new, and France’s place in the AI community isn’t either. First recognized for having the potential for a strong presence in AI, back in 1985, France has maintained their momentum. In 2016, the state declared that AI is a priority industry. In fact there are an increasing number of reasons why France is seeing more opportunities for growth in AI; monetary and fiscal reforms such as taxes favoring entrepreneurs, lower interest rates from the ECB, and strong educational foundations in maths and sciences.
It's unlikely that France will take the leading global position (for now anyway), but first in Europe isn’t so bad. To achieve this position and maintain a global stronghold however, there will need to be many reforms, especially when it comes to business regulations and data privacy policies. To learn more about France's competitiveness in AI check out HBS's Professor Laura Alfaro's presentation.
Thanks to great events like France is AI, the tech community has a stage to address pressing AI topics that really matter. AI is taking over so many industries, the workforce, our daily interactions with one another, and the only way we can prepare ourselves for this is to talk together about the eventual changes.
With a twitter "#franceisai" reach of 302,000 people, we’d say this is a pretty good start to something big - and we hope that people keep talking about it! This year we had high quality talks given by speakers like Stéphane Canu of INSA Rouen, in charge of Deep in France, leading a 42 month project focusing on green deep architecture, optimization algorithms, scaling deep learning, and applying pilot applications. Also we were lucky to see Cédric Villani, of the National Assembly, speak about the importance of maths and its necessary contribution to a digital society.
We were also honored to take part in the event ourselves, interviewing several large corporations about their roles in the progress and implementation of AI. We spent some time with Laurence Lafont (Microsoft), Xavier Lorphelin (Serena Capital), Jean-David Chamboredon (ISAI), Reza Malekzadeh (Partech), Harley Davis (IBM), Geert Meulenbelt (Saagie), Laurent Lafaye (Dawex), Guillaume De Saint Marc (Cisco), Eric Mazeran (IBM), Aymeric De Pontbriand (Scortex.io), and Arnaud Legrand (Energiency).
What we learned? AI is nothing to be afraid of. Sure, many jobs will be replaced or become obsolete, but many will also be created. What is important is to look at this as a shift - away from manual and towards an increasing number of "right-brained" jobs.
Thank you Damien and Paul and the whole France is AI team. We’re looking forward to next years AI meeting of the minds!