Italy making efforts to regulate AI technology

Rome: In preparation for Italy’s focus on developing a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI) this year, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is seeking advice from some of the world’s leading technology experts.

In recent weeks, Meloni has met with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. Musk is also the co-founder of artificial intelligence research group OpenAI and Microsoft is active in the sector through Microsoft Copilot.

The meetings followed a stocktaking speech by Meloni to her government colleagues late last year, in which she said addressing the challenges and making use of the benefits of AI would be a priority for Italy, both domestically and in its role as the presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

“I am worried about the impact (of AI) on many different levels but particularly the impact on the labour market,” Meloni said when she delivered a speech on G7 priorities earlier this month.

Italy was among the first countries to start developing a National AI Strategy, with the initial strategy finalised in 2021.

In March 2023, Meloni’s government made headlines when it temporarily blocked the use of ChatGPT, an AI app, over privacy concerns. The ban was lifted around a month later, following changes made by ChatGPT’s parent company in response to the concerns.

Then, in November, Meloni attended the AI Safety Summit called by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. During the summit, Meloni termed artificial intelligence as “the greatest intellectual, practical, and anthropological challenge of this era.” She said Italy’s AI-related goals this year would include assuring that the technology improves workers’ “conditions and prospects” rather than replacing them.

“We need multilateral governance mechanisms to ensure ethical barriers to artificial intelligence,” Meloni said.