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Having recorded the greatest annual profits in French history last year, Rodolphe Saadé, the chairman of CMA CGM, is spending cash on myriad ventures outside the company’s core container shipping segment. This has seen CMA CGM build up a media division as well as an air cargo business among a host of other investments, the latest of which is a foray into artificial intelligence.
Sitting next to Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, and fellow French billionaire Xavier Niel, Saadé on Friday unveiled Kyutai, an AI open science lab.
Kyutai is a non-profit laboratory entirely dedicated to open research in AI. Its objective is to tackle the main challenges of modern AI, particularly by developing large multimodal models – using text but also sound and images – and by inventing new algorithms to enhance their capacities, reliability and efficiency. To do this, the laboratory will use the computing power made available to it by Scaleway, part of Niel’s tech empire. Scaleway’s supercomputer has the highest-performance computing power for AI applications deployed to date in Europe.
“Resolutely committed to the democratization of AI, Kyutai is positioning itself as a leading player in AI open science. Its ambition is to share its advances with the entire AI ecosystem – the scientific community, developers, companies, society at large and decision-makers in democracies,” stated a release on the CMA CGM website.
Kyutai was founded jointly by Niel’s iliad Group, CMA CGM and Schmidt Futures with nearly EUR300m investments to date.
“Through this new investment in artificial intelligence, I would like the younger generation to benefit from all the opportunities that this technology has to offer. Thanks to Kyutai, researchers will have all the resources they need to create and invent the world of tomorrow. It’s a venture that will bring together the world’s best experts to address the challenges of AI. The CMA CGM Group’s decision to get involved was also driven by a desire to place France and the rest of Europe at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. We need to create a dynamic and innovative ecosystem to keep our businesses competitive. Joining forces is the best way to prepare for the future,” Saadé said.