Italy finally has a Strategic Program for Artificial Intelligence (AI) 2022-2024. Approved yesterday evening by the Council of Ministers, it identifies and outlines twenty-four policies to be implemented over the next three years to enhance the AI system in Italy (in line with the European Strategy), through the creation and enhancement of skills, research, development programs and applications of AI.
The program is the result of the collaboration between the Ministry of University and Research, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Minister for technological innovation and digital transition, and was also born with the support of the working group on the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which includes Barbara Caputo, Isabella Castiglioni, Marco Conti, Rita Cucchiara, Juan Carlos de Martin, Fosca Giannotti, Giuseppe Magnifico, Michela Milano, Giovanni Miragliotta.
“The Italian research and training system is ready to lead the strengthening of this sector”, declared the Minister of University and Research Maria Cristina Messa. “The strategy is an extraordinary opportunity for competitive growth: we create the conditions for young Italians, especially women, who decide to invest in study courses and research on artificial intelligence to be able to do so, at the highest levels, while remaining in our country. And we also stimulate exchanges and meetings with many researchers from all over the world ».
“With the Strategic Program for Artificial Intelligence we aim to bridge the delay in the development and adoption of innovative solutions in this technological field, giving new impetus to the digital transition of our production system”, declares Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister of Economic Development. “Artificial intelligence is the tool with which our country over the next few years – he adds – wants to strengthen the interaction between research centers and businesses, in order to create the conditions for development based on the capacity for innovation”.
“The strategy is the basis for launching concrete programs and investments to make Italy competitive internationally and with a more efficient public system” comments Vittorio Colao, Minister for technological innovation and digital transition. «We foresee acceleration programs for start-ups that propose innovative solutions for public administrations and ad hoc initiatives to significantly raise the quality of public processes and services and improve the citizen-state relationship. On this point we will work in concert with the Minister for Public Administration also using investments in the Innovation Fund ».
The priority areas and intervention policies include initiatives dedicated to talents and skills, with interventions aimed at increasing the number of doctorates and attracting the best researchers to Italy, both in the fields of fundamental and applied research. At the same time, the program includes policies to promote courses and careers in STEM subjects and to strengthen digital and AI skills.
Another priority is to strengthen the structure of the Italian research ecosystem in AI, fostering collaborations between the academic and research world, industry, public bodies and society. Among other things, the aim is to create new research chairs on AI, to promote projects to encourage the return to Italy of professionals in the sector, to finance platforms for sharing data and software at a national level.
Finally, the plan includes policies aimed at expanding the application of AI in industries and in the PA. The measures in favor of companies are aimed at supporting the 4.0 Transition, favoring the birth and growth of innovative AI companies and supporting them in the experimentation and certification of AI products.
In particular, the interventions for the Public Administration aim at creating data infrastructures to safely exploit the potential of big data that generates the PA, at the simplification and personalization of the offer of public services and at the innovation of administrations, through the strengthening of GovTech ecosystem in Italy. The latter measure, for example, involves the introduction of periodic calls to identify and support start-ups offering AI-based solutions that can solve critical problems in the public sector.
To ensure effective governance, to monitor the state of implementation of the strategy, and to coordinate all government initiatives on the subject, the permanent working group on AI within the Interministerial Committee for the Digital Transition is also created.