More countries are realizing the impact of artificial intelligence in future economies, health, and security. France has joined the AI race, which currently is not clear who the leader is because the contest is tight between China and the U.S. Nonetheless, Dubai has in the recent past declared itself as the AI city-state of the future – going as far as creating a new office in government called “the ministry of AI.”
President Emmanuel Macron of France, speaking in Paris on Thursday shared his government’s ambitions to embrace machine intelligence, and fight for its position in tech. Ideally, this is the only option remaining for EU countries to raise their say in technological advancement. But as Macron puts it, “Europeans must get comfortable with sharing their data, to make AI a success on their soil.”
Data is Key
Unlike other techs, which require specific settings and programming to accomplish tasks, machine learning solely relies on data. That’s what trains the machines as well as powers them to undertake tasks. In other words, data is the life and blood of machine intelligence.
However, that has been the biggest hurdle because people, Europeans, and Americans to be particular have shown great laxity in having their personal information utilized or shared. This often translates to security threats or exploitation –which is why France will have to set new laws that facilitate safety in data sharing.
Nonetheless, in China, data sharing appears to be a non-issue. Citizens readily wish to have their general information used for research and other important initiatives. Consequently, this has resulted in the developing of countless AI technologies, including visual and voice recognition ticket-issuing kiosks that are capable of identifying everyone at a flash even in huge crowds.
Macron’s Strategic Plan to Bolster AI in France
The president unveiled a team to oversee and ensure AI progress in target areas including health, transport environment and security (being also the industries that have benefited the most from this tech, worldwide.)
To make the “push,” a success, experts expect Macron’s government to offer higher government funding on machine learning projects, to entice researchers as well as willing investors. Something he affirmed in his speech. Nonetheless, the most important part of his talk is that the administration will join hands to update rules on data so it doesn’t stand as the limiting factor anymore.
What a Government-Driven Push Means in the Adaption of AI
It’s obvious that this new approach will encourage AI companies to move to France and that would mean other developments to the country and its residents. “Digital revolution is inevitable and our people need to embrace the disruptive dynamics of innovation,” the president explained to a team of French business officials.
To keep the vision afloat, undisclosed sources have shared with Bloomberg that French’s government has promised to offer approximately $370 million or 300 million euros each year to fund AI-related research, projects, and initiatives.
Ideally, if such steps are not taken by the region, as in, pushing for technological advancement from up in governments, it would mean Europe’s economic powers will remain limited, or risk falling behind the now flaming competition for future techs, which Apple, Google, Facebook and other AI companies seek to plow.
As of now, France can rely on the available databases in its transport system and national health records, to make some steps with AI. But as stated earlier citizens will need to be told that their information is being used responsibly and for the good of all.
“Accessing data – happens to be the top challenge and major hurdle,” said Cedric Villani, a mathematician and team leader of the group tasked with ensuring AI’s progress and success in France.