IBM to hire 1,800 in France for AI, blockchain, IoT
L'intelligence artificielle, n'est pas?

IBM to hire 1,800 in France for AI, blockchain, IoT

NEWSBYTE US enterprise services giant IBM is creating 1,800 new jobs in France, with a key focus on blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The company revealed the new hires at the Tech for Good Summit organised by French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

The new roles will include the 400 jobs that were announced in April as part of Macron’s AI for Humanity programme, an initiative that aims to ensure the ethical development of the technology.

Macron wants to position France as an AI hub, in direct competition with the UK – which shares a similar ethical focus – and within the EU’s own $20 billion AI strategy, which no longer includes the UK.

In March, Macron’s plans were given a boost by news that Samsung and Google’s DeepMind planned to open Paris AI labs, alongside greater local investment in the technology by Facebook, Fujitsu, and others. Samsung has since announced that it is opening a new AI centre in Cambridge, UK.

“President Macron is making a big bet, and a smart one, that AI is going to transform every job, every profession, and every industry,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, in a statement.

“At IBM, we share this belief and see evidence of it every day, with Watson driving exponential impact here in France and around the world. That is why we are bringing 1,800 new jobs to France to meet growing demand for AI from our clients.

“We want to make France a centre of excellence dedicated to AI. IBM collaborates with major clients such as Credit Mutuel, Orange Bank, Generali, SNCF, and LVMH. These examples show that France is doing the job well to be a driving force in AI,” she said.

Internet of Business says

In recent years, IBM has done a good job under Rometty’s leadership of repositioning itself as an enterprise cognitive services provider, alongside industry peers such as Microsoft.

However, the proportion of new hires in France is small – IBM has 380,000 employees globally – but the nature of the roles is notable. They all fall into the category that IBM now refers to as ‘new collar’ jobs, to distinguish them from blue-collar (manual), white collar (administrative), and others, including metal collar (replaced by robots).

That IBM wants to develop its internal talent is not in doubt. However, it should be noted that since 2012, IBM has reduced its headcount in France by about the same number as it is hiring this year.

So perhaps it is less a case of ‘Vive la France’ than ‘Revive la France’ for Big Blue.