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Move Over US: France Wants to be an AI Superpower

France is a leading AI nation, declares its Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

Ben Wodecki

February 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Photo of Bruno Le Maire
AI Business

France is a leading AI nation, according to its Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

“People say that the Americans and the Chinese have already won. Others say it isn’t important,” he said at the World AI Cannes Festival. “At the end of the day, we will be able to catch up.”

France will “have to” remain the leading nation for AI in Europe, sharing his ambition for Europe to “create a daring innovation," said Le Maire, whose title includes minister of industrial and digital sovereignty.

He said France’s strengths in AI include efforts in decarbonization and open source.

France is the home of Mistral, which develops cutting-edge, open source AI models, while popular open source platform Hugging Face is co-located in France and New York. Also, Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist and vocal open source advocate, is French.

But to ensure France’s competitiveness, Le Maire said they need to pay its scientists well and ensure they have access to top supercomputers.

“France will succeed,” the minister said. “We have the biggest AI companies. We are at the heart of the change. … That is proof of our excellent national entrepreneur spirit.”

Don’t 'water down' AI with regulation

The finance minister also said that regulating AI is “fine, but innovation is better.”

“It would be better to regulate the innovation which we are in control of, rather than to stand up and fight against innovation over which we have no control,” he said.

“It is better to be in control of our innovations and master our own models. To guarantee that AI will respect our culture and our values.”

Le Maire said he had a vested interest in ensuring regulations do not “water down AI.”

France is set to host the next AI Safety Summit this year, following the first meeting in the U.K. last November.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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