An article written by Anne-Francoise Pelé for EETIMES – Technological revolution after technological revolution, France steps back to identify opportunities, assess risks, and define a strategy for growth. Does too much thinking lead to failure? Not always.
In January, French Member of Parliament Paula Forteza presented a report on France’s quantum strategy. Its title, “Quantum: the technological shift that France will not miss,” outlines clear ambitions but implies that France has missed out on other technological shifts.
Objectively, France has not been among the first countries to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It came late to the internet and is lagging in robotics and automation. The scenario has been the same in big data, data centers, and cloud computing. And now, France’s 5G spectrum auction will be delayed until at least March 2020, three months later than originally scheduled. According to Reuters, the 5G delay originates in a disagreement between the French finance ministry and France’s telecom authority, Arcep, over the exact size of the spectrum to be auctioned and the auction floor price.
When it comes to never-ending debates and disagreements, France is the champion in all categories. It shouldn’t, however, admit defeat so early. France has a strong institutional, regulatory, and policy environment, and the excellence of French research in physics and mathematics is undisputed: On the list of Fields Medal winners by country, France ranks a close second to the United States.
French efforts in artificial intelligence (AI), initially plagued by a lack of strategic focus, have gained momentum and made significant progress in recent years. Indeed, AI is a good example of France’s capacity to react and act before it’s too late.
The AI resurgance
“I want France to be a startup nation,” declared French President Emmanuel Macron soon after taking office in 2017 — “a nation that thinks and moves like a startup.” Is it there yet? Maybe not, but successive announcements have moved the country from stagnation to renewal. After spearheading a €5 billion plan in 2018 to support French-based tech startups over three years, Macron recently raised the bar to €6 billion… Full story