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Italy Elevates Artificial Intelligence Concerns as Key Focus of G7 Presidency

Italy, a pioneering European nation in the prohibition of OpenAI’s renowned chatbot, ChatGPT, has placed artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront of its Group of Seven (G7) presidency agenda.

This year-long presidency, commencing in January and concluding in December, was officially unveiled by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on December 4, 2023.

Meloni outlined several critical priorities, including supporting African development, offering support to Ukraine, and addressing the complexities associated with AI.

Expressing her apprehensions about AI’s impact on the labor market, she commented, “I am hugely concerned about the impact (of AI) on the labor market […] Today we are faced with a revolution where [human] intellect is in danger of being replaced.”

While specifics regarding Italy’s concerns about AI were not divulged by the Prime Minister, she indicated the intention to convene a dedicated AI-focused session involving G7 member nations before the inaugural leaders’ summit scheduled for June.

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Italy’s interest in AI’s influence on employment has been long-standing. In May 2023, the country allocated 30 million euros ($33 million) to the Fondo per la Repubblica Digitale (FRD) to bolster the skills of the unemployed and those whose livelihoods are susceptible to automation and AI encroachment.

Earlier in March 2023, the Italian Data Protection Authority initiated an immediate restriction on data processing by OpenAI, a U.S.-based company behind ChatGPT, for local users.

The agency cited the absence of a legal foundation justifying the extensive collection and retention of personal data for AI training as a primary concern. Subsequently, the ban was rescinded a month later after ChatGPT fulfilled all stipulated requirements.

However, in November, the Italian Data Protection Authority announced the commencement of a “fact-finding” inquiry to scrutinize data gathering practices for training artificial intelligence algorithms.

This investigation underscores Italy’s steadfast commitment to safeguarding privacy and ensuring responsible AI development within its borders.

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