EU presents its collaborative AI platform with a strong French influence

"Mr AI" Cedric Villani, LREM MP at the opening of the first European night of AI in Paris. [EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL MAXPPP OUT] [EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL MAXPPP OUT]

Led by various French players, the latest European project on artificial intelligence, AI4EU, aims to create a collaborative platform for European researchers and companies. An article from EURACTIV’s partner La Tribune.

“We must distinguish ourselves, not only by our regulations, but also by our culture,”  Cédric Villani, an MP for  Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche (LREM), said about  AI at the opening of the first European Night of AI in Paris.

LREM’s “Mr AI” came to support the future AI4EU platform (artificial intelligence for the European Union), which will be launched this summer, according to Patrick Gatellier, R&D manager at Thales and project coordinator.

Its aim will be to promote an EU vision for AI that focuses on ethics, and provides companies in the field with support for research projects and funding opportunities. The platform will have a search engine that is dedicated to AI, a space to make data sets available and resources to test algorithms and other prototypes.

The main objectives of the project have been laid out but the details have not yet been worked out.

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France, now a driving force for AI in Europe

A total of 79 public and private partners from 21 EU member states are participating in this three-year €20 million project funded by the EU Commission. Beyond this, France is pulling the strings of the AI4EU initiative.

Thalès is coordinating the project while the professional digital federation France Digitale is the main organiser. Qwant will be in charge of creating the platform’s search engine, and the French giant OVH will host it on its cloud.

On top of that, IA4EU has established its first partnership to promote artificial intelligence with the region of Île-de-France.

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In this way, France hopes to promote its ethical values on a European scale to distinguish itself from the Chinese and American giants. This was confirmed by Mohammed Adnène Trojette, an adviser to the French president and prime minister, who was responsible for delivering the speech of the absent Cedric O, Secretary of State for Digital Economy.

“We need to promote a humanistic vision of AI. We need to define the balance between technological breakthrough and the protection of our values,” he said at the introductory conference.

To ensure that this balance is respected, AI4EU will form its own ethics council composed of individuals from outside the project, as well as industrial and scientific advisers. The institution will also support research on the explicability and verifiability of algorithms, two essential issues of transparency to help understand the decisions made by AI.

The platform should have different gateways with the many European initiatives dedicated to AI. Eight industrial pilot projects will be launched by the end of the year.

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