Google announced today that it's expanding its AI research efforts, setting up a new research team in France that will work with the country's AI research community on issues ranging from health to the environment. Google says the team's work will be published and any code it produces will be open source.
Along with creating a dedicated AI team at Google France, the company is also expanding its workforce by 50 percent and opening four hubs that will provide free digital literacy training to the residents of France.
But Google isn't the only company growing its AI presence. While Facebook already has an AI lab in the country, it announced today that it would put €10 million towards accelerating AI innovation in France. That money will be used for scholarships, funding servers and open datasets that public institutions can use and adding 30 additional fellowship positions to Facebook AI Research Paris' PhD program. The French team will also double from 30 to 60 people. Last year, both Google and Facebook opened AI labs in Canada.
AI has been a topic of interest for French leaders. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed an eagerness to develop France into a leader in AI innovation and is expected to announce a national AI strategy soon, Bloomberg reports. "More than ever, we're committed to help France find new ways to grow in this digital era—whether through helping people retrain, or growing a business, or using amazing talent to research and build new products for the world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post. "We hope these new investments will help the country, academia and local businesses turn France into a true digital champion."