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Shaping the AI Future: A Glimpse Into the G7 and Future Directions

April 29, 2024

Italy has been making notable strides in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), capitalizing on its position within global forums such as the G7 to steer the course of this transformative technology. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s recognition of AI as a central pillar of the G7’s agenda for 2024 underscores Italy’s commitment to advancing AI on an international scale. 

The recent G7 Ministerial Meeting on Industry, Technology, and Digital held in Verona and Trento from March 13 to 15 showcased Italy’s dedication to advancing AI alongside emerging technologies and fostering international collaboration. During these ministerial meetings, a Joint Declaration was adopted, delineating strategic directives across various domains crucial to AI development in four main areas: 

  1. AI and Emerging Technologies in the Industry  
    • Ministers endorsed a proposal to develop by the end of the year a report analyzing the factors and challenges surrounding the adoption and development of AI among companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. The report aims to provide policy options for G7 governments.  
    • Ministers supported continuing the G7 Digital Competition Summit, to be held this year in Rome, with a particular focus on AI. The Summit will facilitate an exchange on horizon scanning activities, enforcement and new regulatory competition enforcers and policymakers. 
    • The final declaration also acknowledged the rising importance of quantum technologies and endorsed collaboration to foster the growth of the quantum industry. 
  2. Security and Resilience of Supply Chains and Networks 
    • Recognizing the critical role of semiconductors in the digital economy and the importance of their supply chain to economic security, ministers welcomed the establishment of a semiconductors Point of Contact Group (PoC) dedicated to facilitating information exchange and sharing best practises among G7 members.  
    • The importance of undersea cables was especially reiterated given the growing value of secure connectivity. Ministers intend to deepen their discussion on supply chain risks for secure undersea cable networks, including maintenance and repair. 
    • Space technologies were also identified to play an important role across the global economy. They see the need for services and applications via satellite constellations, considering that the development of these networks can advance information and communications technology ecosystem resilience and provide global and uninterrupted broadband connectivity.  
  3.  Digital Development 
    • The Italian G7 presidency will continue gathering ideas and identify mechanisms, fora and tools supporting multistakeholder collaboration with developing countries, with a particular focus on Africa in 2024, including on its proposal for an AI Hub for Sustainable Development.  
  4. Digital Government 
    • Commitment to prioritize secure and inclusive approaches in digital public infrastructure development, deployment and governance is stressed, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of both public and private sectors.  
    • Regarding digital identity, commitment to user-centered and inclusive systems is reaffirmed, supported by robust governance frameworks. 

Additionally, joint statements were issued on the following topics suggesting future actions:  

  • Cable Connectivity for Secure and Resilient Digital Communications Networks: The G7 countries reaffirm their commitment to strengthen cooperation on the security of international communication infrastructures, including submarine cables, in order to enhance their safety and resilience.   
  • Toolkit for Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: Acknowledging the need to ensure that public sectors are equipped to manage AI systems, the G7 ministers look forward to a toolkit to be finalised during the Italian G7 presidency, to translate the principles for safe, secure and reliable AI in the public sector.  
  • Advancing the Outcomes of the Hiroshima Artificial Intelligence Process (HAIP): The Italian presidency is also committed to integrating HAIP findings to develop, together with stakeholders, appropriate mechanisms for monitoring the voluntary adoption of the “International Code of Conduct for Organisations Developing Advanced AI Systems.” 
  • Compendium of Digital Government Services & Mapping Exercise of Digital Identity Approaches: The G7 ministers request support from the OECD through the development of a digital government services compendium and a mapping exercise of approaches to digital identity. 

Italy’s leadership within the G7 acts as a catalyst for fostering dialogue and cooperation in steering AI development towards human-centric and ethically grounded frameworks. This resonates with the Vatican’s increasing involvement in AI ethics, epitomized by initiatives like the Rome Call for AI Ethics led by Father Paolo Benanti, a distinguished voice in AI ethics as member of the UN Committee on AI and technology advisor to Pope Francis. Benanti’s advocacy for integrating ethical considerations into AI development aligns with Italy’s commitment to ensuring that technological progress remains aligned with moral imperatives. 

Looking ahead, the G7’s agenda for the year includes the upcoming Leaders’ Summit in Puglia from June 13 to 15, 2024, which will continue to center around AI as a cross-cutting theme. This comprehensive approach encompasses discussions on cybersecurity, privacy, labor and economic development, positioning Italy as a pivotal hub for dialogue, knowledge exchange and trend observation in AI development. Italy will continue to be a ground for dialogue and exchange of knowledge and an international observatory to discover future trends and policies for the development of artificial intelligence. 

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