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The AI National Strategy in Italy: Setting Out Best Practices

The AI National Strategy in Italy: Setting Out Best Practices

Written by Svetlana Ivanova

Created on: 11 Aug 2020 | Updated on: 11 Aug 2020

News category: "News from around the world"

The Ministry of Economic Development in Italy recently published the AI national strategy, which identifies the risks posed by the irresponsible use of AI, as well as ways to mitigate those risks.

On July 2, 2020, the Ministry of Economic Development in Italy published the Artificial Intelligence (AI) national strategy (the Strategy). It is one of the first published national strategies (followed by France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United States) and is already considered one of the most comprehensive ones (Brookings, June 2020). The Strategy gives an overview of what can happen when AI is not used in a responsible way. These risks include undesirable consequences for the economy, society and the environment. The Strategy sets out specific ways to minimize those risks.

The economy and the labour market

The Strategy assumes a human-centric approach, which implies that AI is designed and developed as a service for humans. In other words, the goal is not to replace humans, but rather to enhance their lives. For this reason, the Strategy underlines that strong government guidance is needed for regulating the labour market because businesses are likely to substitute humans with AI even if it decreases quality, as it significantly reduces costs. The Strategy says that these processes should be regulated by the government to avoid high levels of unemployment.


The Strategy is focused on sustainability and achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It argues that AI should be developed with attention to environmental impacts and should be oriented towards reducing poverty and hunger; reducing gender and race inequalities; helping to establish inclusive education; ensuring access to water and energy; protecting the environment; and reinforcing social justice.


According to the Strategy, society should be prepared for the changes coming with the use of AI. This can be done through systemic changes in the education system and through the implementation of lifelong learning programs, to ensure that people substituted by AI can be requalified. It is crucial that schools and universities adapt, preparing specialists that will have a place in the new economies created by the widespread use of AI. The educational system should include introductory courses for AI and specifically designed PhD programs that are connected with real practice in industries.

Increasing awareness of AI is essential for preparing society for this transformation. The Strategy suggests organizing e-learning platforms in Italian, where questions related to AI can easily be communicated. It also recommends launching informative campaigns via social networks and organizing AI festivals in major Italian cities, where the main risks and opportunities of AI can be presented.


The Strategy gives 82 concrete recommendations following the principles underlined above. It represents an important step towards regulating the development of AI, leading it towards “friendly” AI, and sets a good example for other countries. 

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