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Italy plans 1-b-euro AI investment fund

By AFP - Mar 12,2024 - Last updated at Mar 12,2024

ROME — Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday announced a 1-billion-euro investment fund to promote artificial intelligence projects and called for "ethical rules" to govern the technology's use.

She was speaking at an event in Rome, two days before her country hosts a meeting of G7 technology ministers where AI will be top of the agenda.

The new investment fund, which would include new money as well as existing funds, was intended as seed money to attract further investment, she said, with the goal of creating "an Italian way to develop AI".

Meloni said Italy was also working on its own legislation, complementary to the EU's world-first law currently under development, to "establish some principles" and also identify how to boost homegrown companies.

"It is a technology which can unleash all its positive potential only if its development moves within a perimeter of ethical rules which put the person, their rights and needs, at the centre," she said.

The rapid development of AI has become a topic of global concern, turbocharged by the 2022 launch of ChatGPT, a generative programme by Microsoft's OpenAI that can pen stories, create pictures, write computer code and more from simple text prompts.

Meloni has said AI will be a priority of Italy's presidency this year of the Group of Seven (G7) richest countries.

At a meeting of G7 ministers in Verona and Trento on Thursday and Friday, Rome hopes to work towards a "toolkit for the ethical and human-centred development and use of all AI systems in the public sector".

It is also seeking to develop "appropriate mechanisms for voluntary monitoring" of the adoption of a non-binding code of conduct agreed by G7 powers last year for companies developing the most advanced AI systems.

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