Global AI leaders look towards France to develop their technologies: in March, the Asian giants Samsung Electronics and Fujitsu announced the creation of a new AI lab in France. AI is indeed a new French word (“IA” in French), and the French government is determined to lead the race of this new revolution.


After having commissioned a special report to French mathematician Cédric Villani to “give a meaning to AI”, President Emmanuel Macron holds tight to his ambition to catch up with the American and Chinese AI market. The government already plans to invest 1,5 billion euros in the next 5 years to boost research and encourage start-ups in the sector.

In an exclusive interview with the online journal Wired in April, the French President came passionate to defend France’s assets in AI. He highlighted key segments where AI is already significantly transforming for the better French social and economic model. First, healthcare: the digitalisation of the French health network and the rise of e-health technologies will help increase prevention, efficiency and security for the patient. Second, transport technologies: smart mobility will be developed with autonomous driving solutions, offering cleaner, faster and better transport solutions.

To support those transformations, the government has already planned to spend, as part of the Great Investment Plan for 2018-2022, 4.9 billion euros to accelerate the digitalisation of the health and social cohesion systems, and 4 billion euros to improve the daily mobility of French people

In his interview, French President gave a fair summary of the governments headlines, whose “first objective in terms of education, training, research, and the creation of start-ups is to streamline a lot of things, to have the adaptable systems, the adapted financing, the adapted regulations, in order to build champions here and to attract the existing champions”.

As the President stated, “the core basis of AI is research”. Hence the path taken by the government to boost R&D and education in enterprises, start-ups, and university: the government will spend 3.5 billion euros to support French scientific excellence, and 4.6 billion euros to improve business innovation.

Beyond the government’s support to AI, regional initiatives are also boosting the sector. In April, the region Ile-de-France announced its new “AI Challenge Paris Region 2018”, a 1 million euros price to reward 3 leading AI start-ups.

This is the occasion for Nordic start-ups to seize the opportunity to discover French AI ecosystem. To know more about the challenge and how French AI ecosystem can build synergies with the Nordics, please consult our related article:

To read the full interview on WIRED