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France

State AI Lab (FR0037)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: France Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Minister of State for the Digital Sector, attached to the Prime Minister

Support Institution(s): Artificial intelligence institute, all ministries

Policy Areas

Automated Decision-Making, Capacity Building, Digital Governance, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: France Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Set up an open artificial intelligence (AI) lab for the State
Lead institution(s):
Minister of State for the Digital Sector, attached to the Prime Minister
Other stakeholders:
Artificial intelligence institute, all ministries
New commitment
OGP principles with which the commitment is associated:
Innovation and technology for openness
Challenges
Promoting the movement of data between the public and private spheres requires the necessary skills for making use of this data. A network of distributed skills is therefore the ultimate aim, beginning with a cluster within a more centralised AI lab. Ideally, there would be a mix of public sector and external skills.
Ambitions
Lay the groundwork for the open AI lab for the State, define the intended organisation of the team and set the trial processes in motion with the ministries.
The intended organisation of the team is as follows:
A core team made up of data science specialists and public reformers;
For each project, dedicated recruitment modelled on the General Interest Entrepreneurs (EIG) competition for attracting specialists, who will be given the opportunity of embarking on pathways of excellence.
The road map in detail

Publication of the ministries' AI and digital road maps Semester 1 or Semester 2 2018
Calls for AI proposals for the attention of government departments Semester 2 2018
Setup of the AI lab Semester 1 2019

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Set up an open artificial intelligence (AI) lab for the state

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

Promoting the movement of data between the public and private spheres requires the necessary skills for making use of this data. A network of distributed skills is therefore the ultimate aim, beginning with a cluster within a more centralised AI lab. Ideally, there would be a mix of public sector and external skills.

Lay the groundwork for the open AI lab for the State, define the intended organisation of the team and set the trial processes in motion with the ministries.

The intended organisation of the team is as follows:

A core team made up of data science specialists and public reformers;

For each project, dedicated recruitment modelled on the General Interest Entrepreneurs (EIG) competition for attracting specialists, who will be given the opportunity of embarking on pathways of excellence. [37]

Milestones

8.1 Publication of the ministries' AI and digital road maps

8.2 Calls for AI proposals for the attention of government departments

8.3 Setup of the AI lab

Start Date: 2018

End Date: 2019

Context and Objectives

Under the guidance of Cédric Villani, mathematician and member of Parliament, the government tried to give more visibility to artificial intelligence (AI) and to integrate it in the work of the public sector. The national action plan mentions the need to acquire sufficient skills to profit from the potential of big data and data circulation. Villani’s 2018 report adds that AI has the potential to better anticipate the transformation of the labor market (using data on skills, unemployment, and needs), to improve health services (developing prediagnostic tools) and public education, to optimize the transportation of people and goods (developing tools for an adapted regulation of traffic), to mitigate climate change (helping consumers understand and limit their use of energy), and to strengthen national defense, especially in the context of new threats. [38] In 2018, internal knowledge about AI was limited and unequally distributed among government agencies. [39]

A team of data scientists within Etalab work across the government. In addition, small Etalab teams work within select agencies (e.g., the national employment agency, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Finance). [40] The commitment aimed to improve the integration of AI in the government through the establishment of an AI Lab and a call for proposals related to AI for government agencies. The IRM researcher considers the commitment relevant to access to information. One of the milestones requires the publication of ministries’ AI and digital road maps.

The IRM researcher considers the commitment, as written, specific enough to be verifiable. However, the milestones do not provide enough detail about what the road maps for ministries entail, and exchanges with officials in charge did not provide additional information. Milestones 8.2 and 8.3 are vaguely explained in the action plan, and additional information is available on dedicated government websites. The call for proposals gave agencies in charge of delivering public services a chance to experiment with this new technology. [41] The AI Lab will be an interministerial entity, within the Digital Information and Communication system. It will serve government agencies in their efforts to use AI, through the support of in-house data scientists and a network of researchers. [42]

Although AI is undeniably a growing area of interest, the IRM researcher finds that the commitment has a minor potential impact. It mainly sought to stimulate internal interest in AI and did not, per se, require any actual concrete AI project. Moreover, it did not aim to train officials to use AI but required the support of trained data scientists.

Next steps

Despite the general relevance of AI in today’s world, the IRM researcher suggests this commitment not be carried forward to the next action plan. It only required the publications of governmental road maps but did not include any public-facing element that would improve citizen participation or public accountability.

 

[37] For a Transparent and Collaborative Government: France National Action Plan 2018–2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/France-Action-Plan-2018-2020-English.pdf (accessed on 10 January 2019).
[38] Cédric Villani, Donner un Sens à l’Intelligence Artificielle. Pour une Stratégie Nationale et Européenne. Mission Parlementaire du 8 Septembre 2017 au 8 Mars 2018, https://www.aiforhumanity.fr/pdfs/9782111457089_Rapport_Villani_accessible.pdf (accessed on 11 February 2019).
[39] Ibid.
[40] Data scientist within Etalab, email communication with IRM researcher, 11 February 2019.
[41] “Appel à Manifestation d’Intérêt ‘Intelligence Artificielle’: 6 Lauréats à Découvrir!” Portail de la Transformation de l’Action Publique, https://www.modernisation.gouv.fr/outils-et-methodes-pour-transformer/appel-a-manifestation-dinteret-intelligence-artificielle-annonce-des-laureats (accessed on 11 February 2019).
[42] “2ème Comité Interministériel de la Transformation Publique,” Gouvernement, 2018, https://www.modernisation.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/dossier_de_presse_-_2eme_comite_interministeriel_de_la_transformation_publique_-_29_octobre_2018.pdf (accessed on 11 February 2019).

Commitments

  1. Transparency of Public Services

    FR0030, 2018, E-Government

  2. Transparency of Public Procurement

    FR0031, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Transparency of Development Aid

    FR0032, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Expand Open Data

    FR0033, 2018, Access to Information

  5. Improved Data Policies and Administration

    FR0034, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Transparency of Public Algorithms

    FR0035, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Data at Sub-National Level

    FR0036, 2018, Access to Information

  8. State AI Lab

    FR0037, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  9. Administrative Capacity-Building

    FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Public Service Incubators

    FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Streamline Data Flows

    FR0040, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Open Etat Forum

    FR0041, 2018, E-Government

  13. Online Procedures Dashboard

    FR0042, 2018, E-Government

  14. Govtech Summit

    FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. Imrove Public Consultation Mechanisms

    FR0044, 2018, E-Government

  16. International Transparency and Citizen Participation

    FR0045, 2018, Aid

  17. Public Pariticipation in Sustainable Development

    FR0046, 2018, Access to Information

  18. Open Science

    FR0047, 2018, Access to Information

  19. Citizen Involvement in Cour Des Comptes

    FR0048, 2018, Access to Information

  20. Transparency of Interest Representatives

    FR0049, 2018, Access to Information

  21. Access to Information on Public Officials

    FR0050, 2018, Access to Information

  22. Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data

    FR0001, 2015, Access to Information

  23. Publish Municipal Council Decisions and Reports Online

    FR0002, 2015, E-Government

  24. Publish Building Permits in Open Data Format

    FR0003, 2015, Access to Information

  25. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Public Procurement

    FR0004, 2015, Access to Information

  26. Improve Transparency in International Development Aid

    FR0005, 2015, Access to Information

  27. Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations

    FR0006, 2015, E-Government

  28. Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work

    FR0007, 2015, Access to Information

  29. Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations

    FR0008, 2015, Access to Information

  30. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  31. Transparency in Extractive Industries

    FR0010, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  32. Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

    FR0011, 2015, Access to Information

  33. Fix My Neighborhood

    FR0012, 2015, E-Government

  34. Digital Fix-It

    FR0013, 2015, Access to Information

  35. Co-Produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society

    FR0014, 2015, Access to Information

  36. Starred commitment Open Legal Resources

    FR0015, 2015, Access to Information

  37. Reform Participatory Mechanisms

    FR0016, 2015, Open Regulations

  38. Mediation and Justice

    FR0017, 2015, Access to Justice

  39. Starred commitment Open and Circulate Data

    FR0018, 2015, Access to Information

  40. Open Calculation Models and Simulators

    FR0019, 2015, Access to Information

  41. Open Platform for Government Resources

    FR0020, 2015, E-Government

  42. Improve Public Services Through E-Government and User Interaction

    FR0021, 2015, E-Government

  43. Empower Civil Society to Support Schools

    FR0022, 2015, E-Government

  44. Diversify Recruitment Within Public Institutions

    FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  45. Culture Change

    FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  46. Spread Public Innovation

    FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Protect Against Conflicts of Interest

    FR0026, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  48. Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning

    FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate

  49. Open Data and Climate/Sustainable Development

    FR0028, 2015, Access to Information

  50. Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development

    FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate

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