Macron announces new investments in tech, says Paris will be ‘city of AI’


Addressing a distinguished audience of tech leaders and politicians at the Elysée Palace, the French president heralded a “strategic awakening” moment.

Emmanuel Macron declared that Paris, traditionally known as the “city of lights,” would evolve into the “city of artificial intelligence.” He made this assertion during a gathering of prominent figures from the tech industry, political arena, and European Union commissioners.

During his address on Tuesday, Macron unveiled plans for a new investment in the artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum ecosystem, alongside initiatives aimed at nurturing tech talent through training programs.

His remarks preceded the VivaTech technology fair scheduled for the week in Paris, anticipated to attract approximately 150,000 attendees over four days.

Macron emphasized the existential importance of the AI battleground for France and Europe, underscoring its pivotal role in wealth creation. He disclosed that a substantial portion of the new funding would originate from the French state.

Identifying five key areas for the AI “battle” – talent, infrastructure, applications, investment, and governance – Macron outlined a comprehensive strategy.

A significant portion of the investment will be directed towards talent development, with €400 million earmarked for nine universities to establish AI research hubs and foster talent growth. Macron also stressed the importance of gender diversity in the tech sector, setting targets to train 40,000 to 100,000 individuals annually, with a particular focus on increasing female representation.

Additionally, Macron announced measures to enhance public understanding of AI, advocating for inclusive engagement. He allocated a €10 million budget to the Conseil national du numérique to organize debates and “cafés” across France, ensuring citizens are not left behind in the AI discourse.

Highlighting the need for international collaboration, Macron emphasized a French-European approach to the AI mission, positioning it as a collective endeavor. He hinted at a forthcoming Franco-German initiative as a catalyst for this collaborative effort, underscoring the importance of strategic choices in research, training, and investment.