Eric Bothorel, Deputy at the French Assemblée Nationale and responsible for the parliamentary group on data, knowledge & AI, provides an exclusive interview on France’s digitalization process. Bothorel describes France’s progress in frontier technologies like AI and Big Data and explains their expanding role in the healthcare sector. Can you introduce yourself to our international readership and explain your current role entails? I worked mostly in the private sector prior to my current position in the Assemblée Nationale. I started working for a small French company called Infopoint that was later acquired by Econocom. After my time there, I worked for GE (General Electric) in their GECITS (GE Capital IT Solutions) division wherein I changed my expertise to quality control. After the election of President Macron, I became head of the group of study at the Assemblée Nationale focused on data, knowledge and AI. Such groups of studies are informal authorities opened to all members of the Parliament and their aim is to deepen and follow specific questions, from a political, economic, social or international nature. Theses authorities however do not intervene directly in the legislative procedure. Our mission is to act as a legal and technical ‘watchdog’ on questions too specialized to be part of an examination followed by standing committees. They are also the place of discussion & exchanges between members of all parties across the political spectrum. My priorities and objectives are to share with all members a common reference source on the group’s theme in order to handle the issues. My job is outlined in the constitution, and it entails meeting with many stakeholders and members of the public. I decided, as I was elected last year, that I would specialize in digitization and digital policy. This encompasses everything: blockchain, AI, Big Data, cryptocurrencies, you name it. Our division is not partisan and it is going to last for four years, without a doubt. This is unique in the French Assemblée Nationale. The difficulty of our job is tackling the vastly different subjects that fall within our domain. How can the use of data science revolutionize healthcare? How about education? These are two examples of the multifaceted and distinct problems we are tasked with solving.
How can the use of data science revolutionize healthcare? How about education? These are two examples of the multifaceted and distinct problems we are tasked with solving.