[IT] Ministry of Economic Development sets up two groups of experts to provide support in drafting national strategies on artificial intelligence and blockchain.

IRIS 2019-3:1/23

Francesca Pellicanò

Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni (Agcom)

In September, the Ministry of Economic Development launched two calls for applications for the selection of up to 30 members of a group of experts to draft a national strategy on artificial intelligence (hereinafter AI) and 30 members of a group of experts to draft a national strategy on distributed ledger technologies (hereinafter DLTs) and blockchain.

The ministry considers that it is a crucial priority for Italy, as mentioned by the Minister of Economic Development, Mr. Luigi Di Maio, last July in his programmatic lines, to deepen the knowledge of AI, DLTs and the blockchain and the related juridical issues, and to boost public and private investments in the related technologies.

Against the background set by the initiatives of the European Union (a coordinated approach for AI, and an EU partnership for DLTs), the ministry set up these two groups of experts, whose first meetings were held on 21 January of this year, to provide it with technical and scientific support in the drafting of the AI and DLTs National strategies, addressing policies and tools to reach the following goals:

A: For artificial intelligence:

- improve, coordinate and strengthen research in the field of AI;

- promote public and private investments in AI;

- attract talents and develop business in the field of AI;

- encourage the development of the data-economy, paying particular attention to the spreading and valorisation of non-personal data, by adopting better standards of interoperability and cybersecurity;

- undertake a comprehensive review of the legal framework, with specific regard to issues of safety and responsibility related to AI-based products and services;

- conduct analyses and evaluations of the socio-economic impact of the development and widespread adoption of AI-based systems, along with proposals for tools to mitigate the issues encountered.

B: For DLTs and blockchain:

- monitor and analyse private initiatives which already exist at national level, as well as their developments and their socio-economic impact;

- determine the cases in which DLTs can be used in the public sector in order to promote and support their spreading;

- determine the conditions required to promote research on and the development, use, adoption and maintenance of the decentralised structure of DLTs and blockchain in order to increase and accelerate their spreading in public and private services;

- elaborate the necessary tools to create and grant economic, political and regulatory conditions in such a way that citizens and enterprises, particularly SMEs and start-ups, can seize the potential of these technologies and their functionalities;

- elaborate technical and legal tools to encourage the spreading of smart contracts.

In order to ensure a holistic and multi-perspective approach to AI and DLTs, the groups, chaired by the Minister of Economic Development or his delegate, are composed of ten members representing enterprises operating in the fields of AI and DLTs, respectively; ten representing research centres, academics, think-tanks and public administrations; and ten representing the labour market, the professionals, the third sector, consumers and, in general, civil society, as well as the minister’s representatives.

The groups are expected to conclude their activities within the next six months. To ensure full transparency and to be able to benefit from the contribution of all the interested stakeholders, the National strategies, once drafted, will be submitted to public consultation, after which they will be adopted in their final version by the ministry.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.