In a bid to boost native AI startups, Italy is eyeing a state-backed fund to promote its own market. According to Reuters, the Italian government plans to set up an investment fund backed by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to promote startup investments in AI.
According to a statement by Cabinet Undersecretary Alessio Butti, this will “promote study, research, and programming on AI in Italy.” Though for some this might be a 180 turn on the issue of AI due to a ban on ChatGPT back in March, it makes sense as it seems that the government wants to promote the development of AI natively.
The ban set ripples across the European community with multiple nations within the bloc taking note as AI rapidly advances ahead of regulatory frameworks. With this in mind, it seems that is a concern for the Italian government.
According to Butti, their government is hoping to walk a fine line between the advancement of AI and human rights. They said in part, “The government is looking at developments in artificial intelligence, an area where a balance must be struck between human rights and technological evolution.”
But as mentioned earlier, this isn’t the only factor. It’s clear that the Italian government wants to do what it can to ensure domestic AI startups have a foundation to compete. Butti said, “We aim to increase the independence of Italian industry and cultivate our own national capacity to develop expertise and research in such a strategic sector.”
As of right now, the fund will being with a modest amount. In a statement to Reuters, the fund is earmarked at a launch of 150 million euros or 165 million USD. The move by Italy isn’t really a surprise.
With AI’s rapid advance both vertically and horizontally in just about every industry, governments are incentivized to understand its impact. And if the Goldman Sachs report is true, even by a fraction, millions of jobs globally will be affected by the emerging technology.