DECRYPTION – Its boss, the American Gary Shapiro, confides in the lessons he draws from the headwinds currently facing global tech.
He’s one of the most knowledgeable observers of technology. At 66, Gary Shapiro, the boss of the powerful Consumer Technology ociation, which organizes CES in Las Vegas every year, has seen a handful of crises, from that of the internet bubble of 2001 through the financial crisis of 2008. The organizer of the largest m in the sector formalized on Wednesday the choice of Paris for its launch event on September 20 in partnership with France Digitalthe ociation representing the start-up In France. The show will be held from January 9 to 12, 2024 in Las Vegas.
Gary Shapiro took the opportunity to give the Figaro his view of the headwinds currently blowing through the industry and his perception of the French ecosystem. This is very positive. “France is one of the most innovative countries in the world (…). It has all the necessary ingredients forinnovation: a highly educated and enterprising population, a culture of creativity and innovation”, explains the interested party. Patron of the show organized since 1967 in the United States, he recalls in particular that since the visit of Emmanuel Macron during the CES of 2014, the number of unicorns (companies valued at more than 1 billion euros) went from zero to twenty-seven.
Generative artificial intelligence (on which ChatGPT is based, for example) promises to be ubiquitous at the next Las Vegas show in January 2024
Like most countries in the world, French Tech however, takes the brunt of the fall in investments and the fall in valuations. In recent weeks, some young shoots of the French ecosystem have even been forced to multiply voluntary departure plans (Ankorstore, OpenClroom).
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Gary Shapiro cannot deny the difficulties. “High interest rates and fears of an impending recession can chill investment (…). The pressure will tighten, as money becomes less available for start-ups in the start-up phase and those that are not yet profitable”, he says. However, the expert is convinced that the period also brings opportunities. “Difficult economic times can be a differentiator for savvy start-ups. Big global companies like Slack, WhatsApp and Instagram were all launched in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 recession,” he recalls.
Boom in health and artificial intelligence
The lifeline is promised to those who succeed in showing their credentials to their investors, by taking the path of profitability. In his view, there is also money left over for young plants who will succeed in positioning themselves on flagship technologies such as health Or artificial intelligence. “Investors are always on the lookout for start-ups that will lead the next wave of innovation. The amount of cash reserves available to the funds reaches $580 billion globally for venture capital“, figures the leader.
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Of course, generative artificial intelligence (on which ChatGPT for example) promises to be ubiquitous at the next Las Vegas show in January 2024. Admittedly, the amount of funds raised in venture capital for AI start-ups has suffered from the slowdown in global tech. Funding fell to $45.8 billion in 2022, down 34% from the 2021 amount. million), are on this slot.
This steamroller also worries specialists but also several prominent tech bosses. Some call for temporarily putting theAI under bell. Gary Shapiro considers the debate legitimate and raises the many issues of technology, such as “biases in AI, energy consumption and environmental impact, intellectual property protection, data privacy and cybersecurity». That being the case, he considers that a moratorium would be “counter productive”, leaving the field open to countries like China. The expert is hardly more enthusiastic about the European desire to regulate the sector. Referring to the text on data protection (GDPR) for example, Gary Shapiro notes that “Layer upon layer, the European Union has developed technology regulation that has a real cost for innovation and competitiveness”. European parliamentarians, who hope to have the IA Act adopted by the end of the year, have been warned.