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VivaTech 2023 Day One Digest

Posted at: 06.14.2023in category:Top Stories
What an inspiring first day! The Korean startup ecosystem popped off, a lot of experts talked about AI, and the French President checked out the alleys of VivaTech. Let’s recap the most exciting things that went down today.

Across 2 Halls and 4 stages, we have 450 speakers talking about the hottest topics in tech this year at VivaTech. Day 1 is already in the books, so let’s dive into what was covered.

Lee Young, Korean Minister for SMEs. Photo credit: VivaTech

“The power of Korea is going far beyond K-culture, K-pop, K-drama. Now, [we have] K-startups,” Lee Young.

Korean Minister for SMEs Lee Young, a former startup founder herself, drew a portrait of her country’s startup ecosystem in terms of investments and Korean policy to attract investors on Stage One this morning. "The Korean startup ecosystem represented a total amount of 10B$ in 2022 and we now have 14 unicorns."

She highlighted three main points the Korean government hopes to improve for the ecosystem in the coming years. Upgrade the visa process for talented international entrepreneurs to start their business in Korea without barriers; expand investments from international firms from the US, Europe, and the Middle East; and increase the Korean government investment support to B.

Sophie Kim, founder & CEO of Market Kurly, a Korean unicorn, said, “Koreans love building and creating things from scratch.” Attendees will have the opportunity to see just what things Koreans have created. As the 2023 Country of the Year, the Republic of Korea is hosting a wealth of Korean startups and organizations at VivaTech.

Jacques Attali & Yann LeCun. Photo credit: VivaTech

“The only thing AI won’t predict is what AI will become,” Jacques Attali.

While AI applications are increasingly present in our daily lives, several factors linked to the interpretation of knowledge prevent AI from reaching human intelligence. 

Yann LeCun, VP & Chief AI Scientist at Meta, spoke on Stage One this afternoon with Jacques Attali, Futurologist & President at Attali Associates, about AI in our present day.

“Most of human knowledge has nothing to do with language and that part of human experience is not captured by AI systems. They don"e;t have physical intuitions. It stops them from being able to plan actions in the world. Making it bigger is not going to get them to reach human intelligence,” explained LeCun.

“What people are working on, including us at Meta, is providing a new generation of AI systems with the ability to learn from video. To predict the next world, it’s much more difficult to train a machine to look at a video than to train it on text.”

If, according to Jacques Attali, AI is a future that must not be prevented, it must be regulated by counter-powers. “If we look at technology without ethics, we are dead. Who is going to put the borders Counter powers need to exist, to not let the engineers do alone what they want.”


Photo credit: VivaTech

“We have a lot of people who don’t know technology, making rules for technology,” Dr. Ramses Alcaides. 

Biohacking creates many solutions to improve health - they even have the power to save lives. For instance, in the US, a group of biohackers has created a system for people to create their own insulin cheaply at home. But how can we regulate these technologies to make them safe for everyone

On Stage 3, we discussed “Future Living: Ethics & Opportunities of Biohacking,” with Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO; Dr. Ramses Alcaides, founder and CEO of Neurable; and Bill Liao, General Partner of SOSV.

According to Gabriela Ramos, governments contribute to and finance innovation and therefore have a duty to protect citizens. “My concern is not about technological improvement, my concern is that we are producing a massive amount of data in terms of your brain, your feelings… Who is going to decide how to use the information”

Ramses Alcaides feared that non-experts in charge of making decisions could stifle many useful biohacking innovations. “My biggest fear, and I see that time and time again, is individuals who do not understand technology making bad decisions for those who do understand technology.”

Bill Liao was concerned about the waste of time and energy that poorly thought regulation can represent for entrepreneurs. “The best and the brightest entrepreneurs have very little time.” Unnecessary regulation can slow down their innovation cycles.

Emmanuel Macron. Photo credit: VivaTech

“Make France an AI champion,” Emmanuel Macron.

French President, Emmanuel Macron took a stroll through the VivaTech alleys before heading to Stage One and talking about the AI landscape in France.

Considering France is behind in the AI development race, the French President announced that the country would invest 500 million additional euros in AI to go “much faster and stronger”.

“The worst case scenario would be a Europe that invests much less [in AI development] than the Americans and the Chinese, and that would start by creating regulation. This scenario is possible, it would not be the one I would support," he noted. 

"We must simultaneously accelerate research, innovation, and the creation of a powerful ecosystem and participate in regulation whose scope must be as wide as possible."


So much is yet to happen on our VivaTech stages over the next three days. Catch the breaking news on our social media: InstagramTwitter, and Linkedin

Don’t forget to tag us @VivaTech and add the hashtag #VivaTech so we can see how you are spending your time at Europe’s biggest startup and tech event.


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