Musk and Macron headline France technology show

Billionaire Elon Musk and President Emmanuel Macron are headlining France’s biggest technology trade show, VivaTech, which begins its annual four-day run on Wednesday.

Macron is expected to announce new funding for artificial intelligence (AI) projects targeting French speakers, as concern grows that the dominance of US firms could disadvantage non-English speakers.

Twitter and Tesla boss Musk is scheduled to appear on Friday afternoon for an hour-long conversation, with topics likely to include his company Neuralink, which recently won US approval for human testing of technology that uses implants to link brains with computers.

More than 2,000 firms will be displaying at VivaTech, with products ranging from augmented-reality ski masks to AI-animated work of Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.

Tens of thousands are expected to visit the event in Paris, with Saturday open to the public.

Macron is a regular visitor and this year his intervention promises to ramp up the competition for primacy in AI technology in Europe, with Britain having made a slew of announcements recently.

“In the field of artificial intelligence, I want France to be the champion and position itself at the forefront of this new industrial revolution,” he tweeted in French on Tuesday.

He promised announcements that would speed up funding and training, a day after French AI language startup Mistral announced it had raised 105 million euros ($113 million) — a record for a French AI firm.

Macron also encouraged the European Union to pass AI regulations as soon as possible.

The EU’s AI Act has been rumbling through the bloc’s legislative processes since 2021 and is unlikely to be in force for several years. — Agence France-Presse

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