Digital: French tech sets its sights on ethical AI

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The development of services based on artificial intelligence has become a priority in many sectors, but many experts warn of the potential risks of this research. In Atlantic France, we have therefore opted for an approach based on respect for strong ethical principles.

AI is at an inflection point, with the pace of development increasing exponentially. Just consider ChatGPT, which had a staggering 100 million users just two months after launching, making it the fastest adoption of any technology since the rise of the Internet. Its upgraded version, ChatGPT-4, has already outperformed humans on several tasks, including passing the bar exam.

The explosion of AI applications, such as ChatGPT, presents awe-inspiring opportunities for the future. However, AI also poses increasingly complex challenges and risks.

In this article, we will discuss how French Tech is addressing the use of ethical AI in 2023 in two different ways: through the DIVA initiative, funded by the European Union’s Digital Europe programme, and through the annual VivaTech conference in Paris, which is set to take place in June.

Vivatech 2023: Europe’s largest tech startup event

Europe’s largest tech startup event, Vivatech, is set to take place in Paris from the 14th-17th of June. It unites the crème de la crème of the tech world, with top-level executives from Amazon, Paypal, and LVMH, to name a few, as well as representatives from hundreds of highly innovative startups and scaleups.

Besides offering great networking opportunities for startups, scaleups, and big tech companies alike, Vivatech is honing in on an increasingly urgent topic: Artificial Intelligence.

In fact, one of the conference’s key themes this year is ethical AI: what makes an algorithm (un)ethical, and who gets to decide? Can AI be creative? And how will AI disrupt our social and professional lives?

Other topics at this year’s conference include Smart Cities, Cybersecurity & Privacy, and the Metaverse.

Europe embraces ethical AI trend

VivaTech’s focus on ethical or human-centric AI is part of a larger trend in both French and European Tech. In recent years, creating ethical AI has risen to the top of the agenda of tech innovators, regulators, and governments across Europe.

Take, for example, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, which demonstrated Europe’s commitment to protecting individual privacy and data rights. The GDPR imposes strict regulations on data handling and has implications for AI systems that process personal data.

That same year, the European Commission released its AI strategy, highlighting Europe’s ambition to become a global leader in AI development while emphasizing the need for human-centric AI, a respect for privacy, and compliance with ethical principles.

More recently, the European Commission launched its “Digital Europe” investment programme, which foresees €7.5 billion of investment until 2027 in five key areas: supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring widespread use of digital technologies.

These initiatives show that Europe is at the forefront of developing regulations and policy frameworks that seek to drive AI innovation forward while ensuring respect for privacy, ethics, and the environment.

Seizing new opportunities with the DIVA initiative 

One of the 10 French projects selected by the Digital Europe programme is DIVA, a Digital Innovation Value Accelerator which aims to increase the adoption of digital technologies by companies in the Atlantic France region, which is located in the northwest of the country.

The DIVA initiative targets SMEs and mid-size companies, in particular those in key sectors such as healthcare, aeronautics, shipbuilding, energy, agriculture, mobility, etc. The project has been funded by the EU for 3 years, and within this period DIVA has aimed to support 3,000 companies in the Atlantic France region.

Yet, while DIVA wants to support French companies in their digital transition, there is still a shortage of solutions, which creates an opportunity for foreign companies who are able to supply the necessary technology.
The programme prioritises projects aimed at developing ethical and ecological AI solutions. Therefore, foreign companies that are focused on this and are also willing to relocate to the Atlantic France region, are likely to benefit significantly from the DIVA initiative.

The DIVA programme will enable businesses to capitalise on this opportunity and count on tailor-made support in the following areas:

  • An initial sensitisation and diagnosis phase on the use of data 
  • Technical support with easy access to platforms 
  • Testing and experimentation 
  • Dedicated data & AI training  
  • Simplified access to financing tools 
  • An opening to Europe via technical & commercial collaborations with other European EDIHs

Setting up shop in Atlantic France with the impact programme

The DIVA initiative is a golden opportunity for startups and scale-ups looking to set up shop in the Atlantic France region. But where to begin?
At Business Solutions Atlantic France, we help foreign scale-ups like yours get going in Atlantic France, a region in the northwest of the country known for its thriving business ecosystem.

Here’s what makes the Atlantic France region so attractive:

  • 3.8 million inhabitants 
  • Home to the largest airport in western France 
  • Home to the happiest population in France when it comes to the quality of life 
  • 22.5% of the population are between 20-39 years old
  • 1000 foreign companies 
  • 10 innovation clusters 
  • 38 higher education establishments 
  • €1.8bn in R&D spending in 2019 
  • Home to leading companies such as Airbus, Louis Vuitton, Accenture, ThyssenKrupp, and many others

At Business Solutions, we offer investment, matchmaking, and talent scouting opportunities to foreign companies looking to set up shop in the Atlantic France region.

We have a dedicated team that advises foreign startups and scaleups on how best to benefit from the France 2030 programme and how to position themselves to ensure fast growth.

Interested in finding out more about our free services? 
Contact one of our advisors now.

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