UK and France to strengthen links in tech sector and artificial intelligence

Britain and France’s leading tech sectors will be brought closer together with plans for a digital conference – or digital colloque – to promote deeper integration in the digital economy, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

Hancock met 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. He said the digital conference will take place this year and foster cross-Channel collaboration between academics, industry and government.

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

The countries also reaffirmed their commitment and support for the principle of net neutrality, which promotes a free and open internet. They agreed a joint statement to make sure users can access websites without internet service providers favouring or blocking particular sites.

This follows the launch this week of an Anglo-French alliance linking Imperial College London and the French National Centre for Scientific Research to strengthen relations in academic subjects underpinning AI, and the Franco-British AI Conference at the Alan Turing Institute on Tuesday.

Hancock said: “The UK and France are strengthening ties in technology and innovation. 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.”



Stephen Kelly, CEO, Sage, added: “We welcome this deeper collaboration between two leading tech nations, France and the UK. For today’s digital entrepreneurs the world has no borders, only opportunities to grow their business.

“We have much to learn from each other as we bring advanced technologies like AI and collective intelligence into the everyday lives of small and growing businesses to improve productivity and growth.”

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