AI governance in Italy: National strategy and law on the horizon

Italy plans to establish a national AI strategy and an AI law ensuring the instrument is ethically integrated to the Italian economy and services, respecting the OECD AI principles.

 Electronics, Hardware

Italy is stepping forward with an initiative to shape the future of artificial intelligence (AI) within its borders through the Italian Strategy on AI for 2024–2026, alongside a draft law on AI. These efforts aim to ensure that AI development and use are transparent and beneficial to society, in line with global standards like the OECD AI Principles, which emphasise respect for human autonomy and decision-making.

The strategy and draft law, prepared by Digital Italy (AGID) and the Department for Digital Transformation, target four main sectors: Scientific Research, Public Administration, Enterprises, and Education

Scientific Research: The strategy aims to enhance the AI research ecosystem, fostering collaboration between universities, research centers, and ICT companies. It also focuses on attracting and retaining talent and financing innovative AI projects.

Public Administration: Initiatives here aim to standardise the adoption of AI in public services, improve process efficiency, and promote AI literacy among public employees.

Enterprises: The strategy supports the creation of an AI-driven ecosystem for SMEs, providing financial incentives and fostering conditions conducive to innovation and collaboration between businesses and research institutions.

Education: Efforts in this sector focus on integrating AI education into schools and universities, promoting advanced degree programs, and supporting high-level internships and training programs.

This comprehensive approach seeks to integrate AI into the Italian economy and public services effectively, promoting both innovation and ethical standards.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has indicated in a statement that addressing the risks associated with artificial intelligence will be a key theme during Italy’s G7 presidency. 

The draft AI law in Italy addresses several key legal areas to adapt to the challenges posed by AI technologies. Specifically, it includes updates to data protection laws to better safeguard personal information in the context of AI usage, and introduces new provisions in criminal law to handle AI-related offenses effectively. Additionally, the law proposes changes to civil procedures to ensure they remain relevant in the digital age, and revises media laws to address the challenges of AI-generated content. These changes aim to protect citizens’ rights and promote a safe and innovative environment for AI development.