France’s AI Agenda Sped Up by Macron in Crucial Meeting with Meta and Google

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Tech News Summary:

  • French President Emmanuel Macron met with AI experts from Meta Platforms Inc. and Google to discuss France’s role in AI research and regulation.
  • Macron aims to position France as a leader in AI research while ensuring responsible regulation of the technology.
  • Macron’s strategy aims to intensify rivalry between London and Paris to become the go-to destination for all things tech, innovation, and venture capital.

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a significant step in accelerating France’s artificial intelligence (AI) agenda during a high-stakes meeting with tech giants Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google.

During the meeting, which took place on Wednesday at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Macron urged the companies to help France build an AI ecosystem that is “respectful of European values.”

The French president announced his government’s plan to invest an additional €1 billion ($1.21 billion) into AI research and development in the next four years, marking a significant increase from the €1.5 billion already invested since 2018.

Macron emphasized the importance of investing in AI to maintain France’s position as a “great power” in the world, saying that the country must “seize [the AI] opportunity and not miss it.”

“I believe that AI is a major strategic issue, which concerns our sovereignty, our security, our competitiveness, and the future of our industrial sectors,” he said.

The meeting with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai comes amid mounting concerns over the power of big tech companies and their impact on privacy, democracy, and competition.

Macron’s message was clear: the French government wants to promote the development of AI in a way that respects privacy and ensures the protection of citizens’ rights.

“I am convinced that we can build an AI ecosystem that is respectful of European values, notably in terms of privacy, human rights, and democratic principles,” he said.

The French president also announced his intention to create a new AI research center in Paris, which will bring together researchers, startups, and larger companies to accelerate innovation in the field.

The announcement was welcomed by the tech giants, with Pichai saying that he was “inspired by France’s leadership in promoting AI for the benefit of all.”

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg praised France’s efforts to “promote innovation while ensuring that technology is used to advance society.”

The meeting marks a significant step forward for France’s AI agenda, which has been a key priority for Macron since he took office in 2017. With the support of tech giants like Meta and Google, France is poised to become a leading player in the global AI race.

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