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As governments all over the world head back to work, one question that sits on almost all of their agendas is how to handle the technology industry. The past few months have presented no shortage of reasons to take up the question. New product offerings, data leaks, advertising practices, and malware revelations are just some of the highlights and far from an exhaustive list. The proposed solutions are equally extensive. Some propose resolving yesterday’s mistakes with taxes or breaking up perceived monopolies; others identify behavior to directly regulate.

While regulatory solutions may have merit, they are slow in the offing and not sufficient to meet the immediate demands of tech’s expanding horizons. Rather, the fundamental responsibility for concurrently growing and anticipating product impact on society remains with the industry leaders, especially those in Big Tech. They must engage government and society early in and throughout the product development cycle to understand and address rising concerns. They must continue their engagement throughout the life of a product, and not just when a crisis concerns, to ensure they are operating within the regulatory and social licenses to operate. They must approach the government and society as a collaborative partner rather than an obstinate obstacle to overcome. …

Artificial intelligence is increasingly making important decisions, but we can’t have faith in its choices unless we know how they’re made. When a decision about a mortgage, a health care policy or a medical treatment is challenged, we currently turn to a human for resolution. If and when artificial intelligence becomes the ultimate arbiter, its reasoning needs to be clear enough so that if it’s mistaken, we can intervene. Trouble is, AI learning is opaque — it involves building associations and relying on patterns that humans can’t understand, and the tech industry is struggling to make AI explain itself.

To solve this transparency problem, I’d like to challenge AI to a game of bridge. …

Paris: the City of Light; the City of Love; and, well on its way to becoming the City of Entrepreneurship. This should come as no surprise, though. France has a long history of applied innovation and many of the world’s largest businesses are French. From Total to Sanofi, L’Oreal to Michelin, France quietly serves as a major resource for the world’s economy. What is unique about France’s emergence as a global tech and innovation center today is the front and center role women are increasingly taking in it.

At one point, the digital age outpaced France, pushing American and Chinese technologies to the forefront. This did not go unnoticed by French political leadership who, over the past decade, invested resources, often with private partners, to establish a tech ecosystem. Those investments are beginning to bear fruit. One example, illustrating the French model is Station F: a public-private startup hub in an old Paris railroad depot that can house and incubate 1000 tech companies. …

As the Vice President of Communications for the American Women’s Group in Paris (AWG), I periodically post little pieces on our blog. To date, these have tended to be lighter in nature, focused almost entirely on tips for our members and new expats for adjusting to life in their new home. In light of recent protests, though, I posted a piece about some of the experiences of our members (including myself) which I thought might be of interest to others so sharing more widely. It is important to note that the activities of the past couple of weeks are complex — while the “gilet jaunes” movement has hit a chord nationwide in France and has been discussed internationally, it is almost impossible for those of us who have not grown up and through the political shifts over the past decade-plus to understand all of the tensions that are potentially simmering beneath the surface of it. But that is the topic that I am currently writing about for another post in the coming days. …

An Overview of Current Artificial Intelligence in North America

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Keynote Speech During HDI Day “AI & Health: New Data, New Methods” at the Institut Pasteur on 15 November 2018

The countries of the world are in a race. A race to be the dominant economic power over artificial intelligence. Why? As Russian President Vladimir Putin famously stated, “Whoever becomes the leader in [AI] will become the ruler of the world.”

Others share this belief. 26 countries and 6 international bodies have either announced a formal AI strategy, endorsed conceptual principles, or formed an investigatory body on AI policy. These range from the overarching and internationally conceptual, such as the G7’s Charlevoix Common Vision for the Future of AI, to the specific and nationalistic, such as China’s “New Generation of AI Development Plan.” …

An American’s Perspective of the European Union’s Debate over SPCs

*Article appearing also on Advocaxio in advance of discussion on 16 October 2018 on competition and pharmaceutical patents.

Some rivalries shape the world around them. Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla embody the short and the long of power struggles. The competition between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, living forever as “fire and ice,” changed the face and interest of tennis. And in world policy, few tensions have run so long or had more impact than that between the pharmaceutical and generic industries.

As one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world’s economy, these tensions are understandable. Any discussion of reform, let alone introduction or enactment, within a region has the potential to impact not just their access to an economic market but also on the potential for investment in related research and development activities. It’s no wonder, then, that industry and policy eyes have begun to focus on the European Union’s proposed changes to the treatment of certain bio-pharmaceutical patents and allow for expanded manufacturing of generics during the end of their term. …

President Trump announces the United States will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. He concurrently pushes an agenda of deregulation and uses the State of the Union to highlight an entrepreneurial and innovative America. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announces the European Union’s plans to tax large global technology companies. At the same time, France works to become a “scale up nation” and make domestic technology companies world wide leaders. From the Americas to the Middle East to Asia and everywhere in between, countries vie for the best and the brightest to develop the next breakthrough in artificial intelligence. …

Over the past decade, Congress has engaged in a series of debates around the U.S. patent system. Most recently, the debate primarily focused on the need to inject greater clarity and specificity into the existing litigation system. However, despite a steady increase in the number of patent cases filed against an increasingly diverse cross-section of American businesses and job creators, attempts to rebalance the system have begun to stall. Why? Because of the purportedly disparate impact that the reforms will have on the technology industry versus the life sciences industry. Much of this is made in a manner that would make one think that these are two warring sides, each out for the life blood of the other. Not surprisingly, this is all Washington hyperbole. …


Ryan Triplette

Longtime Washingtonian turned expat in Paris working CET->PST on international policy trends in a tech dependent world —

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