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We need young people, not old people, to regulate AI

The 'algorithm commission' has a clear age problem

We need young people, not old people, to regulate AI The 'algorithm commission' has a clear age problem

Giuliano Amato was born in 1938, before the Second World War and the existence of the word 'software'. In the course of his life, he has held the offices of secretary, vice-president and twice prime minister, president of the AGCM, minister for institutional reforms, twice minister of the treasury and minister of the interior. He is also a judge of the Constitutional Court, of which he was also president, a professor of comparative constitutional law at 'La Sapienza' University and a constitutional lawyer of the highest level. Giuliano Amato has also been appointed chairman (not director) of a government commission that is supposed to investigate artificial intelligence in publishing. Now, one does not need to be a profound political analyst to understand that an 85-year-old, net of his legal knowledge, could not possibly have a true point of view on technology: have you ever tried to explain how any app works to your grandfather? Now imagine trying to make him understand something about algorithms and artificial intelligence. Uniscrow founder and LUISS adjunct professor Davide Carboni wrote that Amato's appointment is « a clear sign that italy government sees only the risks and not the opportunities and the only game to play is slowering the innovation to defend the status quo».We might add that the episode is yet another symptom of a contrived system that is backward, dusty and above all concerned with maintaining its own privileges and interests like few others among the industrialised countries of the contemporary West.

Let us first provide some clarity. The appointment of Amato, who will chair the committee, not direct it, serves in part to reassure a whole range of professional categories that are concerned about the way IA will impact their work. The role of chairman given to Amato is that of a master of ceremonies, the only power he will have in case a bill comes up is to decide the agenda of the commission which, being investigative, is not yet linked to any law and at most will write a report of the hearings and say as usual that a guarantor is needed. The hearings themselves, and we will come back to this later, will be led by a pool of experts from the world of academia and thus the fate of AI adoption will probably depend neither on the committee nor on Amato who will focus on the editorial aspect of the use of artificial intelligence. In the current state of affairs, it is the House Committee on Productive Activities chaired by Alberto Gusmieroli whose activity is much more related to the impact that future laws will have on AI. In fact, the Minister for Enterprise and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, has included a 'collegato' (i.e. a law whose procedure is faster) in the new Budget Law, the contents of which will be taken from the activities of this committee. Ergo, Amato's role in the whole affair is probably only nominal: he will not be making any decisions. His appointment, however, also in light of his long political past, the deputy prime minister Salvini himself told Il Sole 24 Ore: «I share President Meloni's misgivings. Putting a constitutionalist in charge of artificial intelligence I find curious». 

@breakingitaly Si parla spesso dei problemi che hanno i giovani in Italia: dalla disoccupazione alla pensione futura. Secondo molti il Paese non infatti è ospitale per le fasce più giovani, contribuendo all’invecchiamento della popolazione. Voi quale difficoltà state riscontrando? Trovate che l’Italia sia un Paese che stimola e investe nei giovani? #breakingitaly #news #notizie #giovani #problemi #italia #disoccupazione #neet #pensione #benessere #politica #Paese suono originale - Breaking Italy

The problem, however, shifts but does not change. In this case as in many others, the political class tends to approach a novelty already widely accepted by the world with the same awkward diffidence with which parents of those born in the 1990s looked at Dragon Ball, GTA San Andreas and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Minister Urso himself said that the measures will cover «artificial intelligence, quantum mechanics, blockchain and new frontier technologies» arguably confusing the physical theory of 'quantum mechanics' with neural networks and quantum computation, but also describing AI and blockchain as 'new frontier technologies' when there are world-class companies that have been working with both for a long time, in some cases for years. Subtleties aside, the issue is symbolic and concerns communication and the message being sent to the country. Of the ten members of the commission (which also includes a Franciscan friar, Paolo Benanti, professor of Ethics, Bioethics and Ethics of Technology at the Gregorian University in Rome) there is not a single expert who is under forty years old. And without in any way detracting from the expertise of a group of multi-decorated experts (by the way, all academics and experts without a trace of an entrepreneur with direct experience of the market) already in an initial survey, one gets the impression that the idea of having a fresher and more original point of view on the committee was not even contemplated by those who selected the list of members, crowning it with the name of a jurist who, at 85 years of age, after two governments and an honourable career, might as well retire like his peers all over Italy - at least he can, unlike the writer and perhaps the reader. But perhaps it is indeed true that life begins at forty.