The disruption introduced by generative artificial intelligence has not escaped the French government. This “recent” arrival at the “heart of our daily lives” raises many questions according to the head of government, Élisabeth Borne.
At the European level, the legislator has already reacted by introducing new provisions to the AI Act – not necessarily to the taste of businesses. France favors another method with the creation of a generative AI committee.
AI and the battle for sovereignty
Their work will be the start of the next phase of France’s national strategy, initiated in 2018 by President Macron. A second phase followed, announced in November 2021. This new cycle was notably accompanied by the launch of a system dedicated to trusted AI.
Generative AI, compared to a Sputnik effect by the deputy director of Crédit Agricole during the AI For Finance Conference, justifies adaptations. Even thinking “outside the box” for the manager.
“The resulting technological and social upheavals [Ndlr : GenAI] prove that the battle for sovereignty requires the mastery of these algorithms”, considers the executive. In order to help it in this battle, the government is therefore surrounding itself with a committee of 15 experts.
The French representatives of two American digital giants find their place there. This is the case of Joëlle Barral, scientific director at Google, and Yann Le Cun, Chief AI Scientist at Meta.
Opponents of the current AI Act as members
He has often spoken in recent months about OpenAI and generative AI in general. Renault’s scientific director, Luc Julia, is also part of the committee, but as an “expert in generative artificial intelligence.”
Like its CEO, Luc Julia signed an open letter in July intended for the European institutions. Large companies and their bosses were alarmed by the impact of the future regulation, the AI Act.
The rapporteur of the text in Parliament, MEP Dragoș Tudorache, regretted “the aggressive lobbying of a few”. This initiative “unfortunately undermines the undeniable advance that Europe has taken”, he further deplored.
Luc Julia finds several other signatories in the committee, including Gilles Babinet, also co-president of CNNum, Cédric O, the former Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Arthur Mensch, founder of Mistral AI.
Training, investment and regulation
The new committee is chaired by Philippe Aghion, economist specializing in innovation, and Anne Bouverot, chair of the ENS board of directors. These selected members have six months to make “concrete” proposals.
They must “contribute to informing Government decisions and making France a country at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution.” In the shorter term, the executive needs to adapt the national AI strategy.
The government has already identified several areas: strengthening training to provide France with “more talent”; investment in favor of French innovation to take it onto the international scene; finally, “adapted regulation of different sectors to protect abuses.”