Making the most of artificial intelligence in Italy and Europe

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is one of the most promising technologies of our times - from saving lives to online shopping predictions and raising crop productivity.

That is not an exaggeration: AI can already help doctors to identify cancers and other diseases, thereby prolonging human life.

In the future, it could be used to predict and locate earthquakes. Italian startups already provide AI-based services, such as detecting transaction fraud. AI stands to benefit society as a whole, across all sectors, for people going about their everyday lives as much as for business.

That also applies to government and public administrations: the focus of this White Paper published by the Agency for Digital Italy.

It identifies some main areas where AI can help – in health, education and judiciary systems; in public employment and security.

The Agency’s paper takes a welcome look at how governments, public agencies and administrations can best use AI technologies to serve both people and business, to raise the efficiency of public services as well as user satisfaction. Much of what AI can achieve in public administration chimes with the European Commission’s promotion of e-government and digitised public services as part of building the Digital

Single Market:

  • saving time and public money, providing better public services.
  • joining them up across borders, raising efficiency and improving transparency.
  • bringing people closer to their governments; involving them more in decision-making.

Developing and promoting AI will be very much a European, not just a national project. It is an opportunity that Europe, collectively, should not hesitate to grasp firmly. To that end, we will need an open and inclusive debate that involves all our countries on how best to use these new technologies: how to respect fundamental rights such as privacy, liberty, security and non-discrimination. This paper already shows how Italy’s efforts in AI are a good example for other countries to emulate – and how they can help in Europe’s broader reflections on the way ahead.

Andrus Ansip

Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Single Market