“The race without Europe for artificial intelligence”. By Cyrille Lachevre

Could artificial intelligence help us fight global warming more effectively? In a study published in early July, the Boston consulting group (BCG) details how AI is becoming an essential tool in the strategy of companies and public institutions to reduce their carbon emissions. In the midst of a heat wave, this theme obviously did not even touch on the debate in France, an additional sign of the delay taken by France, in line with that of Europe as a whole, in this area.

The firm interviewed more than 1,055 tech and climate leaders in 14 countries: “87% of them consider AI to be an essential tool in the fight against global warming and 55% already have it. recourse,” he says. In the United States, more than one leader in two plans to do so, but on the scale of the rest of the world this reflection drops to 40%, proof that there is still some work of conviction to be carried out around the usefulness of AI in other countries.

China and the United States apply, Europe regulates

The very broad and very different definition from one area to another of what is meant by artificial intelligence makes comparisons between countries very difficult, but all the figures point to the gap in the process of widening on the Old Continent . Investments in Europe in AI would thus represent only around 3% of those of Gafa alone. According to the think-tank Skema Publika, over the past thirty years, 30% of AI-related patents have been filed by the United States, 26% by China and 12% by Japan. Germany represents 5%, France only 2.4%.

The United States and Asia are not the only ones to carry out a drum beating policy. Israel continues to dig its furrow by combining AI and cybersecurity, while India is advancing quietly but very quickly, by training the chain of engineers who will constitute the future battalions of this industry much more human than we think.

Concrete solutions are multiplying on the ground, everywhere in these countries. In the United States, an ecosystem of start-ups linked to larger companies presents very operational products, such as Remark holdings, a specialist in artificial intelligence listed on the Nasdaq, which manages the safety of trains on the Brightline line in Florida by detecting in particular intrusions and suspicious behavior, to ensure the protection of travelers.

Another application in the United States, a study published in the scientific journal Nature on June 30 underlines that an artificial intelligence has succeeded in predicting the places and dates of crimes in several American cities, with a success approaching 90%. In China, artificial intelligence is now widely integrated into candidate recruitment processes. These examples, which can be multiplied at will, testify to the multiplicity of operational applications of AI and its eminently strategic nature.

Where is Europe? To a certain extent, it does not remain inactive, under the impulse of the European Commissioner Thierry Breton which works on the development of numerous regulatory texts intended to provide a legal framework, to guarantee confidence in AI or to define common rules of the game between the Twenty-Seven. A reverse approach to that of other countries: “The United States and China invest first and then regulate, while we in Europe regulate ourselves first to try to invest later”, ironically a player in the sector, for that the Commission’s initiatives are certainly welcome but will be useless if we do not quickly change the scale in terms of the amounts invested.

If the capital exists, artificial intelligence remains an unthought European

But here too, money will not be enough. “The fundamental problem is not that of available or mobilizable capital, which exists in Europe, but rather to change mentalities in depth and to understand fundamentally what we are talking about, sums up Guillaume Leboucher, founder of Open Value. Too many people conceive of AI from an emotional angle as it is imagined in movies star wars Where 2001 a space odyssey, whereas it is neither more nor less than augmented information, assisted computing”. In other words, a decision-making tool, a forward-looking management instrument that does not require particularly specialized skills but rather a mass of engineers capable of entering data.

“AI is a tool for capturing data, a genetic pool comparable to DNA in medicine”, continues Guillaume Leboucher. Seen from this angle, Europe’s lag is therefore not so much in terms of technical skills as in the industrialization of processes, with the urgent need to train people capable of working in this sector which is still so little known.

To convince political decision-makers to promote its emergence, it would suffice to show the considerable potential of AI in terms of public policy: predictive tools could make it possible to precisely anticipate specific changes in labor needs in order to adjusting available human resources as best as possible, or even helping to manage energy consumption in a more constrained world. Not to mention the considerable gains that could be made in health, in supporting the elderly, by detecting cognitive disorders very early.

The sinews of war is therefore to train these “computer workers”. That is to say, to give pupils and students a taste for taking an interest in AI by thinking outside the box. Gradually, this subject begins to enter the school. But there is a considerable way to go. Because it is not only a question of relying on artificial intelligence to better train students, the challenge is also to explain to the future citizens of tomorrow how to reduce their prejudices in this area, to finally take an interest in it. really !

Cyrille Lachevre is the founder of the consulting agency Cylans.

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“The race without Europe for artificial intelligence”. By Cyrille Lachevre

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