Tech should do good. And Emmanuel Macron, though busy with climate change, Europe, Iran, reforming the French economy and trade tensions with the U.S., will see to it.
France’s president wants to become the go-to head of state for global tech and will host the bosses of Alphabet Inc.’s Google to Uber in Paris next week to talk about social responsibility, eyeing an opening as the industry’s relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump proves complicated.
Macron, France’s youngest president at 40, will meet with chiefs of Microsoft, IBM, Uber and others in Paris on May 23 at the Elysee presidential palace. And expects the likes of Satya Nadella and Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt to make proposals on how the tech sector can have a positive impact on consumers and society, on matters like privacy, artificial intelligence and robots in the workplace.
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If anything, Macron is good at seizing the moment: after years of disrupting established industries and testing the limits of rule-breaking, companies like Facebook and Uber are now doing some intense soul searching, prompted by scandals about data privacy, sexual harassment and fake news influencing elections.
Further, Trump’s track record with the technology sector has been mixed -- from fluctuating declarations on Chinese suppliers to singling out U.S. players like Amazon in tweets. France meanwhile has attempted a balancing act that includes a tougher stance on taxes and privacy while applauding local investments such as Samsung’s in artificial intelligence labs.
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Tech For Good
About 50 people will join to debate education, the future of work, as well as gender equality and diversity, Maurice Levy, chairman of the supervisory board at Publicis and co-organizer of the event, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. The huddle, dubbed “Tech for good," will take place the day before Macron, as well as many of the executives, attend the Viva Technology industry conference in Paris.
By trying to get the industry to volunteer for more responsibilities and accountability, the French president is feeding into a habit of trying to crack complicated relationships. With mixed results: Macron becoming one of the few European leaders to develop a strong relationship with Trump didn’t stop the U.S. from pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord.
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Read Google, Uber Execs Top the Guest List for Macron's Tech Huddle on bloomberg.com