Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Paris: the City of Love, the City of AI?

In a plan to become the Silicon Valley of Europe, Paris is luring start-ups from around the world to incubate technological innovation. Specifically, the French president hopes to establish France as a leader in global innovation in artificial intelligence in a push to rival American and Chinese efforts.

For the first time in five years, according to data from venture capital group Atomico, French start-ups closed the most funding deals in Europe with emphasis on "deep tech" sectors like the internet of things (IoT), biotechnology, and artificial intelligence by drawing on the strength of their STEM universities.

French politician Valérie Pécresse attended the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) convention in Las Vegas and said,

"You cannot become a Silicon Valley if you don't attract start-ups from other countries. That's why I'm here at CES."


But it's not only start-ups that are migrating to France, but also the world's largest tech companies like Google and Facebook.

Google recently announced that they are adding 64,000 square feet of office space to their Paris office and are also creating a new center in Paris dedicated solely to artificial intelligence research. With the ambition of applying research findings on issues like health, science, art, and the environment, Google's new AI lab will be concentrating on machine learning, language, and a computer's ability to see.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post,

“France has all the assets to succeed. It has top engineers, great entrepreneurs, one of the best education systems in the world, great infrastructure, and successful global companies."


This should come as no surprise considering in 2015, Facebook unveiled their Facebook AI Research (FAIR) lab in Paris, France. They also plan on expanding their research team's headcount and lab by investing €10 million ($12.3 million) by 2022. Additionally, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that the platform will become a founding partner in a €250 million ($307 million) start-up campus in central Paris called Station F.

The director of Facebook's Paris AI center, Antoine Bordes, told the Financial Times:

"We chose France as our home for our first international research lab in artificial intelligence because of its excellence in this field. We believe in France's potential to be a leader in AI and want to contribute to the resources necessary to accelerate in France."


We at The Silicon Valley Journal are excited to see what this means for global strides and innovations in the artificial intelligence space. Hopefully, these powerhouses and dark horses will spur some sort of friendly competition and push one another to become better, faster, stronger. 

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