UK And France Pledge To Bolster Tech & AI Links

The government wants to establish a leading position in Europe as a tech finance and AI leader, with the news that it will strengthen links with France in the tech and artificial intelligence sectors.

The cross channel collaboration has seen both countries agree to a digital conference later this year to promote deeper integration in the digital economy.

It comes as the UK undertakes a charm offensive with the French in an effort to gain its support for a positive Brexit deal.

Entente Cordiale

For many years now the United Kingdom has been the top country in Europe for global tech investors.

Indeed, its tech firms have attracted more venture capital funding than any other European country in 2017. Tech Nation 2017 for example said that the UK leads Europe in terms of digital tech investment with £6.8 billion in 2017, with France in second and Germany in third.

And tech investment bank GP Bullhound, said that almost 40 percent of Europe’s tech “unicorns” (young companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more) are based in Britain.

And the UK is best prepared country in the world for artificial intelligence (AI) implementation, according to Oxford Insights.

France meanwhile has been increasing its effort to create new tech businesses and encourage entrepreneurs. The French cite the newly built Station F, a former railway station in Paris, which hosts startups, multinationals and investors, as a symbol of their country’s ambition.

The pledge to strengthen tech ties across the channel came as Matt Hancock, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, met with his French counterpart, Françoise Nyssen, at the UK France Summit hosted by the Prime Minister and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, at Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

The digital conference is set to take place this year and foster cross-Channel collaboration between academics, industry and government.

The aim of the conference is to help both countries seize the economic and social benefits of fast-developing tech such as AI. It will also bring together experts on data, cyber security, digital government and digital skills to share their knowledge.

And despite what is happening across the Atlantic in the United States at the moment, Britain and France reaffirmed their commitment and support for the principle of net neutrality.

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Strengthening Ties

It seems that it has been a good week for relations between the two countries, after the launch of an Anglo-French alliance linking Imperial College London and the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

The purpose of that alliance is to strengthen relations in academic subjects underpinning AI.

“The UK and France are strengthening ties in technology and innovation,” explained Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock. “I’m looking forward to leading a cutting-edge digital conference this year which will see our world-leading experts in cyber security, digital skills, artificial intelligence, data and digital government share their talent and knowledge.”

“Both countries benefit when our digital economies are strong and the event will deepen our bonds and foster cross-Channel collaboration between those at the forefront of modern technology,” Hancock added.

“This event is a significant step towards greater collaboration between the British and French tech sectors,” said Julian David, CEO of techUK. “Both countries share similar opportunities and challenges as we build our leading digital economies through technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and cyber security.”

London for its part benefits from its global influence, cultural diversity, and acts as a favoured location for major technology companies to base their European headquarters, which gives it a significant advantage over other cities.

Test your knowledge of European tech pioneers and the EU’s contribution to the industry?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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