Cedric Villani, dubbed “The Lady Gaga of Mathematics” for his flamboyant fashion sense, is leading the French AI revolution. Photo Credit: Eric Le Roux

France Plans Effort to Become AI Economic Engine

Announcing a new strategic initiative to become a leader in artificial intelligence, French mathematician Cedric Villani delivered a government report and officials outlined plans for corporate centers by DeepMind and Samsung, as well as an expansion by Fujitsu of its Paris research center.

Earlier this year, Google and Facebook both announced plans to expand their offices in Paris and other areas in France.

The election last year of President Emmanuel Macron has led to an effort to encourage start-ups within the “French Tech” economy. A study led by Villani, a famous French mathematician and member of parliament, generated attention to encourage the growth. A 152-page report called “AI for Humanity” describes an economic strategy for the country, along with planning for employment disruption by the AI economy and ensuring wide distribution of the benefits.

While the report seeks to ensure protections of privacy and security, it also warns against France being “left behind” and not in control of its digital destiny if it doesn’t keep up with AI developments by countries like the United States and China. To remedy that, the report encourages increases in funding of AI research, start-ups and economic programs. The four areas recommended for government focus are: health, transportation, environment and security.

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