The French Confiance.ai consortium and the technology organization VDE agreed to cooperate in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). By 2023, both partners aim to create a combined Franco-German label for trustworthy and responsible AI, thereby increasing the competitiveness of European industry while facilitating the implementation of the AI Act. "Even though today the topic of trustworthiness and ethics of AI seems to be located mostly in Europe, we are nevertheless convinced that only those products that carry the label will ultimately succeed in the market - and worldwide," Dr. Sebastian Hallensleben, Head of Digitalization & AI at VDE, is convinced. The great interest in the label on the part of industry was also reflected by the participating companies.
Alliance includes Who's Who from industry and science
The Franco-German alliance includes all the big names from industry and science and thus the most important strategic industrial sectors for Europe. Air Liquide, Airbus, Atos, CEA, Inria, Naval Group, Renault, Safran, IRT Saint Exupery, Sopra Steria, IRT SystemX, Thales and Valeo are participating in Confiance.ai along with 50 other start-ups and SMEs on the French side. From Germany, under the leadership of VDE, participants include Bosch, Siemens, TU Darmstadt, SAP, ITAS/KIT, iRights. Lab, Ferdinand-Steinbeis-Institut, BASF, TÜV-SÜD and the International Center for Ethics in Science at the University of Tübingen are represented.
Guidelines and references for the companies
The Franco-German collaboration creates a reference framework that encompasses aspects such as transparency, accountability, fairness, robustness, and privacy protection and makes them measurable. This gives companies a practically manageable way to differentiate themselves in the market with responsible AI. The German work to date is also currently feeding into European AI standardization, providing direction for future harmonized standards on the AI Act.
"The Confiance.ai consortium has been working with VDE and German industry for many months. The strength of this alliance, involving key industrial and academic partners, is the common will to promote a vision of trustworthy and responsible AI and to create a label initially dedicated to Franco-German collaboration but to be rolled out at European level," explains Julien Chiaroni, Directeur des Grands Défis at the General Secretariat for Investments (SGPI).
"The consensus on the principles of responsible use of AI is quite straightforward. The big challenge is operationalizing those principles. With the AI Trust Standard & Label, we have presented a practical approach from a German perspective and look forward to not only developing it further, but also integrating it into French and ultimately European work. The synergies are enormous," adds Sebastian Hallensleben.
Confiance.ai is supported by a group of 13 French companies and scientific institutions* and is the technological pillar of the Grand Défi "Ensuring, certifying and improving the reliability of systems based on artificial intelligence". Launched in January 2021 and led by the SystemX Institute for Technological Research (IRT), the project aims to develop a platform with sovereign, open, interoperable, and sustainable methods, and tools to enable the integration of trustworthy AI into critical products and services. It brings together about forty industrial and academic partners in Saclay and Toulouse in seven R&D projects.
Confiance.ai is one of the projects on which the second part of the national strategy for AI is based. This program is funded with 30 million euros by France 2030. Confiance.ai contributes to the implementation of the future "AI Act" led by the European Commission.