The Italian Challenge on AI

AI Friend or Foe? - May 2, 2024

The goal was really important, to make Italy the first nation in Europe with its own legislation dedicated to ‘Artificial Intelligence.

And to make sure that the goal was really achieved in a short time, the Council of Ministers approved the Meloni government’s bill on AI, which has as its main objective to align Italian legislation with that of the European Union “Ai Act” within a year.

Strongly behind the measure was Undersecretary with responsibility for Innovation, Alessio Butti. “Today is a very significant day because the Italian government is the first at the European level to vote on an AI bill after the European Parliament’s final vote on the Ai Act. I believe that AI will not wipe out employment,” Butti said with satisfaction while speaking at the Innovation by Ania event, ”even with the Internet some people thought there might be problems on employment and that was not the case. With Artificial Intelligence it will have to be the same.”

The DDL includes a 148 million euro fund that for the next two years, through the Cybersecurity Agency and the Department for Digital Transformation, will enable Italy through the subscription of shares in Cdp Venture Capital funds to support startups active in AI or other cutting-edge sectors such as 5G, cybersecurity, and quantum computing.”

Cdp Venture itself, the largest venture capital manager in Italy and among the largest in Europe controlled by the Ministry of Finaze, has already indicated its intention to invest 1 billion in AI, which includes the development of an Italian generative AI model.

One of the main and most heartfelt protections in relation to the use of AI is certainly that related to copyright. And with this in mind, the inclusion of copyrighted works to be used for the training of AI models and the use of data and text with generative models will only be possible for organizations that will use them for scientific purposes. But extraction is allowed only when “the use has not been expressly reserved for copyright holders.” In this way, the government would anticipate the entry into force of the protections provided by the European “Ai Act” regulation, an entry into force that, in any case, will take place in the near future.

Relative to the use of artificial intelligence within the public administration, civil servants are authorized to use AI, but according to the Decree they will be “solely responsible for measures and procedures.” Same yardstick is established in healthcare for physicians and practitioners, to whom the obligation of informed consent will apply in case the use of AI is necessary.

As for training, an Observatory dedicated to promoting the training of employers and workers on the proper and permitted use of AI will be established.

In short, a series of actions and regulations that had become indispensable and necessary, given the rapid proliferation of the uncontrolled use of this incredible new technology.

Actions that will still have to manage to keep up with the times in the future as well, without risking as in the past not being able to predict and stay up to date with what the technologies are able to offer.

Artificial Intelligence can and should be a tool at the service of nations and all the categories that make up a state, from the entrepreneur to the public administration, from the professional to the private citizen, but in order for it to be truly useful and effective, regulation was needed.

The first step has been taken, now the National Strategy will be updated every two years by the Presidency of the Council through the Department for Digital Transformation, a path certainly not easy but one whose beginning has been marked.