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French industry engages on AI

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In line with the French government's AI for Humanity strategy, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and eight of France's global industry players — Air Liquide, Dassault Aviation, EDF, Renault, Safran, Thales, Total and Valeo — have signed a manifesto on Artificial Intelligence for Industry.

In the manifesto, the eight global companies put forward a common strategic vision of AI. The signatories have agreed to conduct a joint review between now and September 2019, to share findings with policymakers and establish a coordinated plan of action with the French AI ecosystem by the end of the year, and to encourage the participation of all public and private stakeholders who share this common strategic vision of AI.

The companies have come together to define a common strategic foundation for AI with a view to establishing leadership positions in their respective markets at international level. The companies will work together on issues related to the development of the AI technologies that meet the requirements of their industries, and in particular the Big Data technologies that are critical to their competitive performance. The aim is to reach critical mass more quickly in priority fields of research.

In the manifesto on Artificial Intelligence for Industry, the signatories identify themes of common interest, with specific reference to the use of AI in industrial environments: trust, explainability and even certifiability; embedded systems (i.e. autonomous electronic systems used to perform a task); AI for design, simulation, development, testing and logistics; AI for maintenance and Industry 4.0; and issues related to very high performance, reliability, robustness, and more generally the use of AI in critical systems.

As the digital transformation gains pace, and with increasing international competition and growing cybersecurity requirements, the signatories call for coordinated action, first by industry players, and also by industry and the academic community, and by industry and policymakers. The objective of this open innovation approach is to share research and development capabilities and raise awareness of the uses of AI in industry while at the same time supporting the recruitment of the best talent in France.

Once the joint review has been conducted, the signatories will share the findings with policymakers with a view to defining concrete policy measures by the end of 2019 to be coordinated at the national level across the entire French AI ecosystem.

All public and private stakeholders who share this common strategic vision of AI will thus be encouraged to join this initiative.

Through this manifesto, the signatories from industry seek to develop a collective response to the need for sovereign AI capabilities in terms of both economic sovereignty (technological independence of French companies operating internationally) and national sovereignty (one of the four priorities identified in the Villani report).

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