The French government unveiled a new strategic initiative today that seeks to make the country a world leader in artificial intelligence without compromising its notions of privacy and security.
The outlined proposals got a lift from a series of related corporate announcements, including plans by Google’s DeepMind and Samsung for new Paris labs and Fujitsu’s expansion of its existing Paris research center. The news follows announcements from Google and Facebook earlier this year of increased investments in their Paris-based AI labs.
The hum of activity is the latest attempt by the government to capitalize on the growing momentum around the French Tech ecosystem, as well as the election last year of startup champion President Emmanuel Macron. Last September, the government tapped Cédric Villani, a famous French mathematician and member of parliament, to lead a study on how to develop the country’s AI economy. Results of that study were released today in a 152-page report dubbed “AI for Humanity.”
The report lays out an economic strategy for developing France’s AI ecosystem, but it also outlines the formidable task of planning for AI-induced disruptions. Challenges include employing workers who are displaced by AI and ensuring that the benefits of the technology are widely distributed. The report also raises concerns about AI research and policy being increasingly driven by the U.S. and China and warns that France and Europe risk being left behind as “cybercolonies” forced to adapt to technologies developed…