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Microsoft announces the largest investment to date in France to accelerate the adoption of AI, skilling and innovation

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Microsoft Unveils €4 Billion Investment Plan to Propel AI, Skill Development, and Startup Growth in France
At the Choose France summit today, Microsoft made a landmark announcement of its most significant investment in France since its inception 41 years ago. This comprehensive investment strategy aims to accelerate the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies, enhance France’s competitiveness in digital innovation, and yield long-term economic advantages for the nation’s economy and workforce. Aligned with France’s National Strategy for AI and the recommendations of the French Commission for Artificial Intelligence, these initiatives are poised to position France as a global leader in AI development and utilization.
Brad Smith, Vice Chair & President of Microsoft, expressed the company’s unwavering commitment to fostering digital innovation and economic growth in France through the deployment of state-of-the-art Cloud and AI infrastructure, comprehensive AI skilling programs, and robust support for French startups.
Underpinned by Microsoft’s recently established AI Access Principles, these investments are set to stimulate innovation and foster healthy competition in the burgeoning AI sector. The principles underscore Microsoft’s expanding role and responsibility as an AI leader, committing to investments, partnerships, and programs that ensure broad access to AI technology for the benefit of organizations and individuals.
Corine de Bilbao, Corporate Vice-President, Microsoft France, emphasized the company’s dedication to sustainable and inclusive growth through significant investments in cloud and AI infrastructure, extensive training initiatives, and renewed support for startups across France.
Microsoft’s ambitious investment plan includes:

Cloud and AI Infrastructure Expansion: A €4 billion investment will drive the expansion of next-generation Cloud and AI infrastructure in France. This initiative will bring advanced GPUs to the country, meeting the increasing demand for efficient, scalable, and sustainable AI-specific compute power. Microsoft’s advanced computational infrastructure and AI platform services will empower organizations to develop, deploy, and utilize proprietary and open-source AI models and applications.
Skilling and Training for 1 Million People: Microsoft is committed to skilling 1 million individuals in AI by 2027, focusing on job seekers, students, SMBs, and professionals. Collaborations with government institutions, training partners, and educational organizations will facilitate the launch of new training programs aimed at building AI fluency, technical expertise, and promoting safe and responsible AI development.
Supporting French Startups: Microsoft aims to accelerate over 2,500 French startups through its flagship program, Microsoft GenAI Studio. This initiative will provide AI expertise, cloud credits, and support activities to foster AI-driven innovation and growth. The program will include a tailored 4-month acceleration program at STATION F, complemented by nationwide workshops and hands-on sessions.

These investments, guided by Microsoft’s AI Access Principles, underscore the company’s commitment to supporting the long-term growth and competitiveness of the French economy while respecting European and French sovereignty principles, regulation, and values. They also reaffirm Microsoft’s longstanding presence and commitment to France, where it has been operating since 1983, employing over 2,100 people.
Source: news.microsoft.com

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Valmet enters joint venture with Körber to advance the digital offering to the tissue industry

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Valmet and Körber have on May 29, 2024, reached a joint venture agreement to further strengthen FactoryPal, a venture of Körber. FactoryPal is a software developed for tissue converting operations that improves shopfloor manufacturing performance and productivity.
According to the joint venture agreement, Valmet will become the majority shareholder of FactoryPal, and FactoryPal will continue operating as an own legal entity under the existing FactoryPal brand. The addition of FactoryPal will further strengthen Valmet’s offering of advanced Industrial Internet solutions and digital services to support customers in the tissue industry. The joint venture follows Valmet’s acquisition of Körber’s Business Area Tissue that was completed in November 2023.
FactoryPal software empowers tissue mill teams to achieve seamless operations by generating and utilizing high quality data combined with state-of-the-art user experience and advanced artificial intelligence (AI). FactoryPal acts as a trusted co-pilot on the shop floor.
“Valmet has a unique end to end offering for tissue producers, from stock-preparation and tissue machines to rewinders, converting and packaging lines, as well as services and automation systems. We see FactoryPal as an excellent addition that will provide performance optimization, not only for converting operations, but eventually also for the entire tissue making process,” says Petri Rasinmäki, Business Line President, Paper, Valmet.
“By setting up this powerful partnership, FactoryPal will be able to advance its product development with extensive machinery and paper making knowledge. This will empower us to deliver further innovative digital solutions across the entire tissue value chain, evolving the product to one of the leading AI-copilot solutions in the industry,” states Dr. Nadja Hatzijordanou, CEO of FactoryPal.
Currently, there are 55 employees working for FactoryPal in Germany, Portugal, Italy, the USA and Brazil. The set up of the joint venture is subject to customary closing conditions. The closing of the agreement is estimated to occur at earliest on August 1st, 2024.
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EU Policy. AI Office set-up announced, Lucilla Sioli to be in charge

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The Commission has announced the establishment of a new unit tasked with overseeing the implementation of the AI Act.
Lucilla Sioli, currently serving as Director for AI and Digital Industry within the European Commission, will lead the newly formed AI Office, as announced by the EU executive today (29 May). Sioli, an EU official since 1997, brings extensive experience to her new role.
The AI Office, a reorganization of an existing unit dedicated to AI within the Commission, will comprise five main departments, each headed by a director responsible for ensuring compliance with the AI Act. With a total staff of 140, including experts in technology, law, and policy, the office plans to recruit around 80 additional personnel.
These departments will focus on key areas such as regulation and compliance, safety, excellence and robotics, AI for societal good, and innovation. Additionally, two advisors will provide expertise on scientific approaches and international affairs.
Contrary to previous expectations, the EU executive has expedited the approval of internal restructuring, with appointments and unit establishment scheduled to take effect on 16 June.
The AI Office, an internal department within the Commission, will oversee the enforcement of regulations governing general-purpose AI systems and serve as the central coordinating body for AI policy across the EU. It will collaborate with other departments within the EU executive, its agencies, companies, and the 27 Member States.
As the AI Act is set to officially enter into force in June, companies are gearing up to meet compliance deadlines. Prohibited practices specified in the AI Act will face bans starting in November, with general-purpose AI rules coming into effect in May 2025, followed by obligations for high-risk systems in three years.
The AI Board, comprising the 27 national regulators, will convene for its inaugural meeting in June to assist the AI Office in harmonizing regulations. Member states will have twelve months to appoint formal regulatory authorities before attending these initial meetings.
Recruitment for the AI Office is underway, with the Commission seeking experts from national administrations, as well as legal, policy, and technology professionals, through a recent call for applications.
Source: euronews.com
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Oneida County officials discuss artificial intelligence

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved significantly from its early days, prompting local officials and experts to engage with residents of Oneida County to dispel misconceptions and discuss its implications.
At a recent gathering hosted at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome Campus, State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. convened with four experts to offer insights into AI.
The panel included:

Anthony Martino, director of Northeast Cybersecurity and Forensics Center at Utica University,
Charles Green, co-founder and CEO of Assured Information Security, Inc.,
Dr. Andy Drozd, president and chief scientist at ANDRO Computational Solutions,
LLC, and Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

Griffo highlighted New York’s ambition to become a hub for AI research and development, stressing the importance of understanding AI’s implications for potential legislation. Picente echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the need to safeguard communities and individuals affected by AI.
The discussion delved into defining AI, with Martino cautioning against the indiscriminate labeling of technology as AI. Drozd described AI as a technology capable of processing vast amounts of data and delivering contextual and useful insights within seconds. Green underscored AI’s historical development and its current applications, particularly in large language models like ChatGPT.
While acknowledging AI’s transformative potential, the panel recognized the importance of data quality, as AI is only as effective as the data it’s fed. They highlighted AI’s role in personalizing online experiences and automating tasks like data analysis for government agencies.
However, concerns were raised regarding data privacy and intellectual property rights, with residents expressing apprehension about data collection and usage by AI systems. Martino and Drozd discussed emerging concepts around personal intellectual property and data ownership.
Regarding AI’s role in education, Drozd highlighted the availability of plagiarism detection services tailored for AI-generated content. Picente shared observations of AI-generated content inaccuracies, emphasizing the importance of monitoring AI applications.
While acknowledging AI’s benefits, Griffo and Picente stressed the need for responsible AI deployment, particularly in government services. They advocated for cautious monitoring of AI advancements and prioritized its use in enhancing operational efficiency at the county and local level.
In conclusion, the discussion underscored the need for informed dialogue and proactive measures to harness AI’s potential while mitigating risks and ensuring equitable access to its benefits.
Source: eu.uticaod.com
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