The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport recently spoke of the conversations Britain has had with France over the last year about developing its technology sector and its entrepreneurial drive.

A year ago, Emmanuel Macron, President of France announced the intention to make France the world’s tech capital. He gave his speech at the Publicis Groupe’s ‘Viva Tech’ event. Matt Hancock, Britain’s Secretary of State also used the same platform to talk about Britain and its ambitions and offerings.

Tech, he said was growing strongly across Europe, particularly Artificial intelligence. The strength of the sector in France helped strengthen that of Britain.

He said, “It’s more collaborative than previous waves of technology for instance with AI, the more data you have; the more powerful the algorithm will be. The value to working together internationally is very strong,” he added.

“We are determined to keep it that way, he continued. “Just last month we put £1bn into AI and we are hoping to be using the NHS data for AI, it’s one of the single bigger data sources. We think we have a strong system in the UK which we are hoping to strengthen further. We’re working with France and other partners around the world which is good for the UK too.”

He continued: “France is putting a lot of energy into moving in the right direction and, like us, they have an offer which is – what we are seeking to pull off to have an environment that is as friendly as possible and as supportive for innovation as possible within a framework that ensures that technology works for society whether that is on data protection or the new legislation we have announced for social media safety and getting the balance between those two is very important. What we want it is mountain levels of innovation and mountain levels of protection.”.

Talking about the job challenges the impact of AI would have, he said realistically, “The challenge to jobs is going to happen whether we choose it or not. The choice we have is whether we develop all new jobs. The goal with AI is meant to be a tool for people to be able to do jobs more easily, now there is a big disruption and we need to support people through that disruption but ultimately the question is whether we seize its advantages or if we try to stop it, which ultimately would be futile.”

Last year saw a £2.4bn injection into the economy from Cambridge’s tech sector and Mr Hancock says this can also be seen as another strong signal of growth.