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Italy to tackle AI regulation as one of main priorities during G7 presidency

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Italy, one of the first European countries to effectively ban OpenAI’s popular chatbot ChatGPT, will address the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) as one of the priorities of its Group of Seven (G7) presidency, which runs from January to December.

On Dec. 4, 2023, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni held a press conference in which she outlined the key priorities for the country during its 12-month G7 presidency. These include supporting African development, backing Ukraine and addressing issues around AI. Meloni said of the challenges posed by AI:

“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 the Italian prime minister didn’t elaborate on specific concerns about AI, she revealed an intention to hold a special AI-focused session of G7 members before the first leaders’ summit in June. The topic of AI’s influence on the labor market has occupied the Italian government for some time. In May 2023, the country allocated 30 million euros ($33 million) toward the Fondo per la Repubblica Digitale (FRD) to enhance the capabilities of the unemployed and those whose jobs are at risk of automation and AI takeover. 

Related: California senator proposes ethical guidelines for AI contractors in the state

In March 2023, the Italian Data Protection Authority ordered the immediate limitation of data processing for local users by OpenAI, the United States-based company behind ChatGPT. The agency has also noted a lack of legal basis to justify the mass collection and storage of personal data by AI as it trains its algorithms.

The ban was lifted a month later when ChatGPT met all the requirements. However, in November, the Italian Data Protection Authority announced the launch of a “fact-finding” investigation, in which it will look into the practice of data gathering to train artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.

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