France Makes Major Push to be the AI Hub of Europe; Sets up a Challenge to US, China.

France is making a high-profile push to place itself as Europe’s hub for artificial intelligence technology, throwing its weight behind the much-hyped and fast-growing AI technology.

French President Emmanuel Macron said, “I think we are number one in AI in continental Europe, and we have to speed up.”

Countries are looking to situate themselves as AI technology hubs because this technology is revolutionary and of strategic importance to governments across the world. AI technology is impacting almost all industries but is caught in the broader technology battle between China and the USA.

The hype around fast-growing AI technology has been partly because of the viral nature of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Everyone was discussing AI technology at France’s yearly technology conference, Viva Tech.

Macron, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, and Digital Minister Jean-Noel Barrot attended the event, adding the government’s backing to France’s tech push.

Macron said, “We will invest like crazy in training and research. We are well-positioned in AI because of its access to talent and start-ups forming around the technology. Believe me, this is clear that the U.S. is number one, for good reason, because it is a huge domestic market. I want us to clearly bridge the gap and invest much more, develop much more, and speed up much more.”

France hopes to catch up with the USA and is also facing tough competition within the European Union. U.K. Prime Minister in the past week pitched for Britain to be a global AI center.        

Anton Dahbura, Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy, said, “France definitely has a chance to be the leader in Europe, but it faces stiff competition from Germany and the U.K.”

Dahbura added, “For France to find success, it will need to use AI to build on the economic areas it’s already strong in such as manufacturing and pharmaceutical. It’s a key time to be strategic to identify specific areas of distinct competency and invest heavily in AI to build an edge.”