The French Economy’s Secret Weapon: Bureaucrats

Sometimes the real action is in the dog that didn’t bark. What is striking about the European Union’s pending regulations on artificial intelligence is what’s missing: There is no ban on open-source AI.

Part of the reason may be that the French government realizes it has a winner in its highly regarded AI firm Mistral AI. Recent results have shown Mistral making significant progress catching up to industry leaders, and the estimated value of Mistral AI has risen sevenfold in the last six months. Meanwhile, Germany and Italy have their own AI aspirations. Why let EU regulation ruin that possibility?

One lesson here is that when France has serious commercial interests at stake, it is capable of getting its way in the EU. And the implications of that lesson are to be more bullish on France.

France, and Paris in particular, now has a fairly dynamic startup scene. Good companies and projects don’t come out of nowhere. The city’s startup ecosystem, especially in fintech, is booming. If you think technology and AI are the keys to the economic future, France is the major European nation making forward progress. Other promising startups may be on the way.

Americans like to jest that there is no French word for “entrepreneur” — but the joke may be on them. Some of the important people behind Mistral AI had been working for Meta and Google in France, but now they have struck out on their own.

France Is Leading Europe in Foreign Investment