50 tech CEOs come to Paris to talk about tech for good

Ahead of VivaTech, 50 tech CEOs came to Paris to have lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. Then, they all worked together on “tech for good”. The event was all about leveraging tech around three topics — education, labor and diversity.

At the end of the day, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe invited everyone for a speech in Matignon. It wasn’t a groundbreaking speech as Macron is also speaking at VivaTech tomorrow morning. “We’re trying to pivot France, ” Philippe said.

With great power comes great responsibility Edouard Philippe

Maurice Levy, the former CEO of Publicis, one of the two companies behind VivaTech with Les Echos, first introduced the event, as well as Eric Hazan from McKinsey. McKinsey worked on the data that was used to start those discussions. So let’s watch what they talked about.

“As McKinsey depicted, there’s no question that technology overall is a net creator of job and GDP. It’s a positive force, ” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. “At the same time, AI and automation, while driving the economy and productivity, […] will lead to big groups being disadvantaged.”

He then listed a few important points to make sure that nobody is going to be left behind, such as coaching and mentorship programs.

“This is not just the government’s job but it is also the job of private companies, ” Khosrowshahi added.

He wanted to remain hopeful and it felt a bit like a lobbying effort. “It’s easy to see the lost of jobs because of automation. But it’s much more difficult to dream about the possibilities of the future, ” he said. In other words, don’t worry about the on-demand economy, don’t worry about self-driving cars.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was in charge of its further consideration around education. “We also got a lot of technologists and pragmatic people there. And we ended up with five recommendations, ” she said.

It sounds like these recommendations would be really favorable for IBM and other tech companies. So here are these recommendations 😛 TAGEND Focus and segment this problem. Focus on the one-quarter of the population the most at risk. Align the skills that businesses require with the education system( hard skills and soft skills ). There should be an open partnership with governments to reposition vocational education, learn by doing, foster internships, apprenticeships, simulations and redirect tax to incentivize. Work with teachers to pilot, get hard evidence and then scale. Retraining employees is incumbent on all employers.