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France’s AI Industry Growth Spotlighted During VivaTech Conference

France, map

France is reportedly positioning itself as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI), with significant support from U.S. tech giants.

The recent Viva Technology conference held in Paris showcased France’s progress in AI and the investments French AI firms have received from companies like Amazon and Microsoft, CNBC reported Friday (May 31).

One notable French AI firm, H (formerly known as Holistic), raised $220 million in a seed funding round, with investments from Amazon and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. This trend of French AI companies attracting investments from U.S. tech heavyweights is contributing to France’s emergence as an AI hub, according to the report.

At the VivaTech conference, AI was prominently featured, with an entire alley dedicated to AI-related companies, the report said. L’Oreal, a French beauty industry giant, presented an AI-powered beauty assistant called BeautyGenius. This event symbolizes France’s ambition to become a leading tech and AI hub that can compete with the U.S. and China.

France has a strong AI research and development ecosystem, hosting key facilities like Meta’s Facebook AI Research center and Google’s AI research hub in Paris, per the report. The country also boasts leading universities and a thriving startup scene focused on AI innovation.

However, while France has excelled in research and academia, it has faced challenges in translating that talent into successful companies, the report said.

French President Emmanuel Macron recognizes the importance of AI for France’s tech industry and aims to make Paris a global AI hub, according to the report. He met with industry leaders, including Eric Schmidt and representatives from Google and Meta, to discuss strategies for fostering AI development in France.

However, France, like the rest of Europe, faces the challenge of balancing AI innovation with appropriate regulation, the report said. The European Union (EU) recently approved the AI Act, a landmark law regulating artificial intelligence. While regulation is necessary to prevent AI from becoming too powerful, some tech executives have expressed concerns that overly restrictive regulations could hinder innovation.

France has been critical of the EU AI Act, emphasizing the need to avoid stifling innovation, per the report.

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