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AI, climate, deep tech... and Elon Musk: What to expect from VivaTech 2024

Tesla, SpaceX and X boss Elon Musk on stage at the 2023 edition of VivaTech.
Tesla, SpaceX and X boss Elon Musk on stage at the 2023 edition of VivaTech. Copyright Michel Euler/AP
Copyright Michel Euler/AP
By Pascale Davies
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VivaTech is back this week, welcoming thousands of start-ups, visitors, and a certain tech billionaire. Here's what's in store from our team in Paris.

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Tech fair VivaTechnology - or VivaTech for short - opens its doors in Paris on Wednesday for the eighth year with artificial intelligence (AI) continuing to be the main talking point as France sets its sights on becoming Europe’s leader in the technology. 

Top speakers include the "Godfather of AI" Yann LaCun, Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker, politicians such as former US secretary of state John Kerry, European Council chief Charles Michel, as well as tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams as the country gears up for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

There will also be 2,800 exhibitors and 150,000 visitors expected over the four-day event which will end on Saturday. 

Euronews Next will be on the ground bringing you the latest innovation stories. Here’s what you can expect from the event.

AI will be everywhere

Alongside a top line-up of speakers such as LeCun and Arthur Mensch, the co-founder of French AI champion Mistral AI, there will also be newcomers in the game such as 19-year-old Sneha Revanur, who is trying to build the largest youth movement for safe, equitable AI with her organisation Encode Justice.

But AI will not just be in the spotlight for generative AI (GenAI) uses but also across the healthcare and energy sectors amongst others. 

"What excites me the most, is that this is the first edition in which the AI is a little more mature. It was really a little kid last year, we were just discovering it, just starting to talk about it," said Pierre Loutee, CEO of the the Les Echos-Le Parisien media group, a media subsidiary of the LVMH group and co-founder of VivaTech.

Europe's start-ups

More than 2,500 start-ups will be present at the conference, and this is where they will do 40 to 50 per cent of all their sales leads, Loutee told Euronews Next.  

But he warned while Europe has the tech and the AI talent, conditions need to be created for the development of AI companies in Europe so they are prevented from going to the United States or being sold there straightaway.

"This is even more of an issue than before," he said.

"It's a question of sovereignty, intellectual and conceptual sovereignty. It's really extremely important because you have to understand that, with IT, we've been massively outsourcing our knowledge for some time now," he added.

But it is also a question of European sovereignty. 

"It's going to require a real harmonisation of legal, financial and fiscal conditions in Europe. We don't really have a single market right now," he said. 

The other issues are scalability and access to capital, which he said is "maybe a little more restricted today than it was two years ago, which causes more selectivity and there's an expectation of more austerity, less spending, more profitability".

But he said it is not all doom and gloom for start-ups: "It’s not winter is coming… the temperature is just a bit cooler than before".

Climate, deep tech, and Musk

The other key themes to watch out for this year are climate tech, mobility, and deep tech. 

Amazon.com’s CTO Dr Werner Vogles will be giving a speech on global applications of AI in addressing critical global challenges such as climate change, food security, and health.

Meanwhile, electric cars will be on show in abundance at this year's fair with Elon Musk’s Tesla exhibiting at the Paris event for the first time, following his surprise star appearance at the event last year.

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It’s also expected that the billionaire tech mogul will appear at the event this week for a second consecutive year.  

​​From brain-computer interfaces to new advances in quantum computing, deep tech will be heavily present at this year’s Viva Tech.

Sports tech and e-sports

With Paris making the final preparations for the 2024 Olympics Games which are just around the corner, sports tech and e-sports will feature highly.

As well as a plethora of exhibitors, the public can expect to see the finals of Europe's first official League of Legends Amateur competition on Saturday. 

A truly international event

The number of European countries present at this year’s event will be 30 per cent higher than in previous years. 

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But the event will be much more international. There will be more than 120 countries and 40 pavilions. 

The featured country of the year is Japan, which will showcase its tech ecosystem and have a delegation of institutions, companies, and startups.

There will be many other countries in Asia present, as well as America and Africa. 

The Africa Tech Awards will also be hosted for the third year running.

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