Olivier de Berranger

The challenge of Artificial Intelligence

“Open the pod bay doors, Hal!” Hal, an AI character installed onboard a spacecraft refuses to obey this order from the astronaut David Brown and responds with “I’m afraid I can’t do that”, thus turning against his creators. This famous line from 2001: A Space Odyssey resonates particularly strongly today when we are living through one of the most creative – and perhaps most dizzying – times in history.

There are several ways of approaching the future. We can decide to open the door or close it out of fear of the unknown. In a world that is undergoing rapid and profound change, there is little doubt about the need to innovate while accepting the risk involved.

From self-driving cars to robotic surgery, the only limit on AI is human imagination. To provide the necessary impetus for its development in France, we need to create an ecosystem that fosters the development of a tech sector comparable to those in the United States and China. The financing of breakthrough technology is an issue of sovereignty and economic development for our country and for the Paris financial centre. That is why the Tibi report[1] recommends investing EUR 20 billion to encourage the development of global tech funds and technological leaders based in France. Although France has many advantages – outstanding researchers, global leaders, a high level of savings – our talented tech entrepreneurs are looking abroad to finance their growth because of the lack of sound support structures.

This is a strategic moment. All the systems are in place for AI: from the metaphorical oil of big data to the factory of the Cloud (where the data is stored and transformed by artificial neural networks that give it self-learning capabilities) to the apps that take it outside of the laboratory and integrate it into our economy and lives. AI also bodes well for the global economy since, according to PwC, it is expected to contribute more than USD 15 trillion by 2030. Additional increases in growth at a pivotal moment.

This universal technology will have an impact on all sectors and all countries, and its potential for innovation is extraordinary. This megatrend identified by LFDE prompted us to launch the first AI fund[2] managed by a French management company. Since June 2018, Echiquier Artificial Intelligence has attempted to capture the creation of value generated by AI using a broad multidisciplinary approach focused on four corporate profiles that use (NETFLIX), benefit from (BLUE PRISM) or participate in the development of AI (GDS Holdings, KEYENCE).

Since its inception, this global tech fund has outperformed its benchmark index, the MSCI World, despite various crises (trade wars, Hong Kong crisis, coronavirus, etc.). Its disciplined investment approach, which includes a semantic algorithm, is based on stock-picking that places financial and non-financial aspects at the heart of the analysis. ESG criteria are now analysed for the whole of the portfolio.

 No one can pre-configure the future. LFDE has chosen to invest alongside you in the greatest technological revolution of our time and in the Tibi mission. AI is central to the economy of the future, and we believe that it will create tremendous value and, as David Bowie sang, perhaps even a better future.

[1] Philippe Tibi’s report was submitted to the Minister for the Economy and Finance in July 2019
[2] The term “fund” refers to an investment fund or sub-fund of SICAVs