The Cliffs of Cinque Terre, Manarola, Italy — photo by @jackward

A Sustainable Long-Term Italian AI Strategy

Reading and Summarising the Draft of the Italian AI Strategy

This article is a summary of the progress within the Italian AI strategy so far.

The current progress of the AI strategy in Italy is as follows.

  1. In September 2017 the Italian AI Task Force launched the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID). The task force includes 30 direct members and around 450 community members from many sectors. One initiative was Observatory on Artificial Intelligence, which aims to analyse AI-related public conversations on social networks through technology.

The focus of this article will be on the last point, however it may be advantageous to check out the other documents if you want to do a deeper dive into the Italian strategy.

The Italian AI Strategy

The strategy has nine goals [bold added]:

  1. Increasing public and private investments in AI and related technologies;

As is the case with most of the strategies, a report by a consulting company is mention in the beginning (this time Accenture) foreshadowing the incredible growth that will be occurring in the field of AI. This one to double the annual rate of economic growth and increase labour productivity by up to 40% by 2035.

The report proposes an industrial policy approach based on the strengths of the production structure. Thus the Italian, the Government has identified seven key sectors, which will be given top priority in the choices to allocate funding:

  1. Industry and manufacturing

Within these there are four guiding principles. The public-private partnership (PPP); the intra- and inter-institutional collaboration; the synergy with European action; and monitoring and evaluation of the evidence generated will be the four points.

It argues that the interdisciplinary nature of AI will require an important coordination between institutions, ministries, public agencies, financial bodies and large investors.

To aid in this the AI Policy Observatory was set up:

It is an inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder control booth in order to ensure:

  1. A harmonious, effective and evolutionary implementation of the national AI strategy;
Screenshot retrieved 11th of January 2019

Who talks about artificial intelligence in Italy? How and how often does it happen? How do they feel about it? Collected data are made available as an open data set to citizens, businesses, researchers, students, schools and associations.

Considering the different forms of intervention that the Government will implement, public investment overall by the year 2025 it will amount to approximately 1 billion euro. This appropriation should exercise a leverage effect of equal order on private investments, such as to reach a volume total of at least 2 billion euros.

The Italian ecosystem of AI research has already taken important steps in the direction of one

greater membership integration and membership of European networks. For example nationally it is the Consortium’s Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems (AIIS) laboratory was established National Interuniversity for Information Technology (CINI). Many universities and Italian research institutes are members of the Confederation of Laboratories research network for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe (CLAIRE).

Other important national centers of excellence conducting AI research are the Institute Italian of Technology (IIT) and the Council’s Institute for Computing and High Performance Networks (ICAR) National Research (CNR).

The Government believes that support for SMEs’ open innovation will foster the digital transition of the Italian production fabric, stimulating the demand and hiring of qualified personnel and experts in AI. At the same time, the growing demand for AI solutions from businesses will favour birth of new startups and innovative SMEs and a greater diffusion of AI throughout the territory national.

In addition to promoting the establishment of centres of excellence in the field of AI, the Italian government aims to create a national network for the development and diffusion of AI, more generally of technologies digital, so as to put the various centres in a system.

They suggest educational initiatives at all levels:

At primary and secondary education level, the Government intends to relaunch consultation with the social partners of the National Plan for the Digital School, to reach in a shared way a an investment strategy aimed at updating the teaching and skills of the body digital teacher;

At tertiary education level, the Government undertakes to redesign the degree courses nationals that provides for the insertion of an adequate number of training credits attributable to AI themes, to invest in artificial intelligence courses applied in Technical Institutes Higher and to finance doctorate scholarships more conspicuously, reversing the trend registered with the previous management.

In general, concrete financial and infrastructural support for the development of online courses popularizing and professionalizing about AI.

The government will also promote data sharing agreements.

The government is interested in experimenting with forms of flexible regulation and is evaluating the possibility of implement forms of co-regulation, such as regulatory sandboxes , for experimentation in the autonomous driving sector.

The government believes that the issues of cyber security and so-called deepfakes should be treated with particular attention to better protect citizens, and intends to promote it development and use of e-learning platforms with dedicated courses. The government also undertakes to support international initiatives aimed at combating distortions information caused by AI and online disinformation campaigns.

AI will be a useful tool to achieve the main objectives that the Government sets itself on legality, such as the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, the fight against web crimes, the fight against cyberattacks generated by AI, the theft of personal information and sensitive data, and the fight against mafias and terrorism.

This strategic plan represents a contribution to the European Coordinated Plan for Intelligence Artificial. The Italian government is determined to encourage synergistic action by the countries of the Union European so that the EU can face and overcome competition from the United States and China.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 220. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.