Italy, Europe betting on Artificial Intelligence

ROME: Hopes in Italy are high that artificial intelligence will play a major role in the country’s post-coronavirus economic plans, according to analysts. And Italy is not the only country betting on that cutting-edge technology.
Starting in 2018, the European Union unveiled a series aimed both at incentivizing the development of technologies related to artificial intelligence and for guidelines for the ethical and privacy-related implications of the diffusion of artificial intelligence technologies.
Since then, according to Andrea Bonarini, a professor of electronics, information, and bioengineering at the Politechnical University of Milan, Italy has been ahead of the game among European countries.
“Italy is a bit ahead of most other countries in this area,” Bonarini told media. “But these are situations that can change quickly, and there are many countries that are focusing hard on artificial intelligence.”
Bonarini said economies are already seeing some of the benefits of artificial intelligence in terms of dynamic pricing, which adjusts prices based on supply and demand, and on gaming, medical fields, industrial production, and banking and finance.
“The use of these technologies is not something that will become part of the reality for use all at once,” said Bonarini, who is also the head of his university’s AIRLab initiative, which focuses on challenges related to artificial intelligence. “These technologies get integrated into existing technologies to make them faster and more powerful and more efficient.”
Piero Poccianti, president of the Associazione Italiana per l’Intelligenza Artificiale (the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence), best known as AIxIA, agreed that Italy was “well-positioned” in the fast-changing marketplace. He noted that artificial intelligence researchers and developers from Italy are among the most cited in the world when it comes to the top technical journals.
“There is plenty of expertise in this country,” Poccianti said in an interview.
But he also added that the country faced some challenges that many other countries do not have to confront.
“One problem that has an impact on many high-tech areas in Italy is that too many of the most talented university graduates leave the country to work elsewhere.”
Bonarini and Poccianti both were in line with scores of media reports and comments from government officials, all of whom say that there is the potential for artificial intelligence to be a new motor of growth for Italy. But they also said Italy is too small to be a player on its own.–Agencies