French President Emanuel Macrons vows to make France an "undisputed leader in AI.(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)


Macron pledges to make France Europe’s ‘leader in AI’

“I want the State and public services to embrace Artificial Intelligence in all areas. And that it should be accessible to all citizens,” he said.


French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to make France the “undisputed leader in AI” in Europe.

Following a meeting with France’s AI leaders on May 21, Macron publicly unveiled a comprehensive five-part plan on X regarding the artificial intelligence ​​industry in France.

Macron emphasized what he said would be the pivotal role of technology in his country, stating that “AI has a future in France”. He promised to invest heavily into the sector to make that a reality.

For France to become the AI ​​leader, Macron said there would need to be a greater focus on education and what he termed technological “democratization” across France.

The French Government wants to train 100,000 people in the proper use of AI and develop dedicated university and school sites, known as “AI clusters”.

These will receive a total of €400 million in investments and will be organized around nine centres of excellence across France, aiming to attract and nurture top researchers.

“I want the State and public services to embrace Artificial Intelligence in all areas. And that it should be accessible to all citizens,” he said.

Pupils will be trained on how to use AI in secondary schools, while guides will be provided to French companies on how they can use the technology.

The French Government will also organize “AI cafés” throughout France so citizens can gain a greater understanding of artificial intelligence.

Other key sectors to be targeted include infrastructure and investment.

France is set to “develop a strategy to attract private-sector players so that we can attract the entire value chain, from semiconductors to data centres and the cloud”, Macron said.

His bid to make France the leader in AI comes amid growing regulation of the technology in Brussels.

The European Union has just approved its AI ​​Act, which is designed to prevent misuse. The legislation, which is due to come into force in 2026, has been criticised by some as making the bloc less competitive on the world stage.

Regarding the promotion of AI, Macron will face multiple challenges including demystifying the role of the technology as there are fears it could pose a risk to workers.

In December 2023, during a conference on AI, former Renaissance MP and celebrated mathematician Cedric Villani and AI researcher Laurence Devillers spoke out about concerns of AI replacing human labour.

“AI raises questions for certain professions,” said Villani, citing programmers as an example.

“There are two risks to consider. Firstly, a form of standardization, less creativity. Secondly, there is the risk of a loss of individual skills,” he added.

“If the machine codes for you, you are much less motivated to maintain your programming skills.”