France's latest in initiatives promoting AI

A large upcoming player in the AI market may turn out to be a lot closer to home than most people think. France.The story of France’s journey into AI started on the 29th of March, this year, where the president of the French Republic (Emmanuel Macron) presented his vision and strategy to make France a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) at the Collège de France. Macron announced the French government would invest 1.5 billion euros into AI up until the end of his term (2020), this would be in order to supplement the already existing innovation strategy.

This initiative it mainly driven by Macrons desire to pull out France of a 3 decade period of France not reaching their innovative potential. Although France may not have the large tech firms, like the United states, Macron reckons France has the talents, data and links to be a large player in the upcoming industry.

What we have are little nuggets. Help us make them into ingots!
— Axelle Lemaire , Minister of State for the Digital Sector

Regarding the ethical implications of researching and applying artificial intelligence, Macron said:

We should have a policy of open data, and have to think on the subject from a political and ethical point of view

The country is beginning to see large tech firms such as Microsoft and Facebook setting up AI centres in the capital, however the country may have missed out on a lot potential investment due lack of state innovation in the sector, this may be due to the countries unwillingness to increase the already large budget deficit. In order to compete with the existing AI giants (US,China, etc), Macron plans to focus the 1.5 billion Euros into areas where France may have an advantage in the industry (areas mostly focused around research).

A look at allocation of public funds for Research and Development in France compared to the US, via

A look at allocation of public funds for Research and Development in France compared to the US, via

Samsung also recently announced its arrival in Frances, its main reason for setting up being the concentration of “talent” as the country houses 4 of the top 20 best universities for Mathematics.