The United Kingdom and France have agreed to work together more closely on technology, artificial intelligence and cyber security, announcing plans for a digital conference to promote deeper integration.
The conference will take place this year, and has been conceived to ‘foster cross-Channel collaboration between academics, industry and government'. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock announced the event with his French opposite, Françoise Nyssen, at the recent UK France Summit in Sandhurst.
The UK invests more in technology than any other European country, and was named the best-prepared country in the world for AI implementation in December by Oxford Insights.
France, meanwhile, is encouraging startups and entrepreneurship - recently repurposing a Paris railway station to host new businesses, multinationals and investors.
The integration between the two countries aims to help both gain the benefits of quickly-developing technology areas such as AI. Under new plans, the UK's Alan Turing Institute will work on research and funding initiatives with its cross-Channel counterpart DATAIA.
The accord will last for five years and contains language reaffirming their commitment to net neutrality, which they strongly support. They agreed a joint statement to ensure that users can access the internet without ISPs favouring or blocking particular sites.
Julian David, CEO of techUK, said:
"This event is a significant step towards greater collaboration between the British and French tech sectors. Both countries share similar opportunities and challenges as we build our leading digital economies through technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and cyber security.
"International platforms for collaboration, such as the one announced by Matt Hancock today, provide valuable cross-border perspectives on many of the social, legal and ethical questions that will be raised as we continue to innovate."
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