The Governments of Canada and France have created a joint committee meant to expand collaboration between the two countries on science and technology research.

In its first meeting held this week, the group decided on quantum science and artificial intelligence (AI) as its first priority research area.

The group is co-chaired by Canada’s chief science advisor Mona Nemer, as well as Claire Giry, director general of research and innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Canada and France launched an international study group on inclusive and ethical AI in 2020.

The committee, which includes a strategic council, aims to meet every six months to identify thematic priorities for Franco-Canadian cooperation in science, technology, and innovation.

As Canada and France push to advance AI development and regulation, both countries have expressed concerns over alleged privacy breaches from OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

In recent months, both France and Canada’s privacy commissioners launched separate investigations into ChatGPT after receiving complaints that claim the platform collected data without consent.

Last year, the Canadian government tabled Bill C-27, a wide-ranging privacy legislation that included what would be Canada’s first law regulating high-impact AI systems.

This newly-formed committee builds on Canada and France’s existing collaborative work related to science, technology, and innovation, including the governance and adoption of AI.

RELATED: Canada, France officially launch global initiative to advance responsible use of AI

In 2018, Canada and France made a commitment to create an international study group on inclusive and ethical AI, which launched in 2020 with the support of other countries. That initiative, dubbed the Global Partnership on AI, is supported by two research hubs, one in Montréal and one in Paris, and an investment of up to $15 million over five years from the governments of Canada and Québec.

In addition, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the French National Research Agency (ANR) formed a partnership to establish a framework for supporting new and existing collaborations between researchers in both countries.

NSERC and ANR will launch joint calls for proposals in the priority fields identified by the committee, with the first call for proposals expected in the coming year.

Featured image courtesy France’s Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

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