AI, Amato leaves the Algorithms commission after the controversy with Meloni

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By John

It is “a populist right, democracy is at risk”. «Italy can follow Poland and Hungary». It’s January 2nd and… Giuliano Amato thus summarizes the “apprehension” for the year that has just begun. Dark colors that the former prime minister and former president of the Constitutional Court dedicates entirely to the government with which, among other things, he collaborates as president of the Algorithms Commission. Words that bring to light old rusts in the difficult relations between Amato and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who at the end of October did nothing to hide the irritation at his appointment as head of the study group on Artificial Intelligence. It took the Prime Minister’s conference at the end/beginning of the year to definitively close the issue between the two with Meloni – urged by a journalist – still wondering whether it was appropriate to leave Amato in his place (“I think it is known that it wasn’t my initiative”) and he who from the columns of the Corriere della Sera, not without bitterness and irony, closed the door of Palazzo Chigi behind him: «this is a commission of the Prime Minister’s Office, and since my appointment does not appear to be an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Office, I will certainly leave the position. Too bad, they lose something…”. Rapid, very rapid, the changing of the guard at the Commission. A few hours were enough and the undersecretary for Publishing, Alberto Barachini, announced: «Father Benanti is the new President of the AI ​​Commission for information». Professor of the Pontifical Gregorian University, theologian and philosopher, Franciscan of the Third Order Regular, he is the only Italian member of the United Nations Committee on Artificial Intelligence as well as member of the Coordination Committee for the support of the Undersecretary of State Alessio Butti in the update strategies on the use of artificial intelligence. Barachini, taking «noticing the resignation of the President emeritus of the Constitutional Court Giuliano Amato from the AI ​​Commission», wanted to speed up the deadlines and «move forward with renewed determination in the work undertaken, aware of how crucial the information sector is and of the need to investigate the impact of artificial intelligence on every aspect of it, bringing to light opportunities, risks, outlining ethical perimeters and possible synergies to protect employment and copyright”. And moreover, Meloni herself has indicated artificial intelligence as one of the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the G7. Benanti, 50 years old, is also an advisor to Pope Francis on the topics of AI and the ethics of technology, teaches moral theology and has a very high profile curriculum vitae in the AI ​​field. On 1 December 2017 he was included in the Artificial Intelligence Task Force to assist the Agency for Digital Italy in drawing up a first summary report to identify the possible recommendations that the Italian Government, and the public administration in general. On 27 December 2018 he was selected by the Ministry of Economic Development as a member of the group of thirty experts who will develop the national strategy on artificial intelligence at a national level. As early as next Tuesday, January 9, the members of the Commission will begin to draft the first report to be delivered to Prime Minister Meloni.