Artificial Intelligence: what about Italy?


Artificial Intelligence is setting some focus on our future. Will it be possible for Italy to have a spot on the new technology to be competitive? And if yes, how? Here some hints.

Our country, at the end of the necessary measures to contain the COVID-19 emergency, will have to take an active position also on this topic. In Italy there are few investments in research doctorate scholarships and the recipients of these scholarships, in most cases, have only an academic career or a placement with public research bodies as a prospect. The Italian industry is the great absentee and consequently our young people must make their professionalism recognized abroad.

And to think that prestigious research institutes such as the CNR of Cybernetics in Arco Felice and the Cybernetics and Biophysics in Camogli were already operating in Italy in the 1960s. In the following decade the Milan Polytechnic, some Tuscan institutes and also La Sapienza in Rome became the protagonist.

We must not forget Olivetti who in the sixties made the first desktop computer and in the excellence we also remember the Elsag of Genoa with the Emma for the Italian Post office project that recognized the postal code starting from handwritten correspondence.

As highlighted by the Artificial Intelligence Observatory of the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic, the Italian AI market is still in its infancy in terms of the amount of investments. Only 12% of the companies interviewed have completed an AI project and one in two companies has not yet moved. However, it gives hope that 400 industrial AI projects were presented at the Ital-IA Workshop organized by the CIS AIIS Lab.

The recipe for being competitive therefore in the sector passes without any doubt from training. The challenge is to create a paternity that includes both public and private resources. Public funding for the development of artificial intelligence which will complement the highly private initiatives of the industries for highly competitive initiatives in order to offer the market innovative “made in Italy” products.

Training in artificial intelligence, an update of the training offer at all levels with appropriate and new content dedicated to the digital world (often mistreated or badly used in this emergency period where it has not always been seen as a fundamental asset but rather as a commodity ). To this it may be possible to add a program of educational credits on Artificial Intelligence topics in universities that can prelude to doctoral scholarships. Last but not least, the application of artificial intelligence courses applied in Higher Technical Institutes and in continuous training.

In short, even in the sector of Artificial Intelligence in Italy human material is not lacking and Salvatore Gaglio, President of AICA Sicily Section, Department of Engineering at the University of Palermo ICAR – CNR also underlines this.

Offer the possible support that allows our country to be not only competitive but also to lead an innovative sector crucial for the future? Yes, it is possible.


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