Interview with Daniela Battisti

The impact of artificial intelligence on public services could be the focus for future work

Daniela Battisti, Head of International Relations at the Italian Department of Digital Transformation, shares her enthusiasm for the work already done within the GPAI, and discusses future areas for consideration.

What role can an international organisation like GPAI play in responsible artificial intelligence ? 

The GPAI is an excellent example of multilateral cooperation between democracies on the issue of Artificial Intelligence.  One of its great strengths is its multistakeholder approach, which facilitates a rich exchange of views between governments, think tanks, academic experts and companies. It opens the door not only to the practical development of Artificial Intelligence solutions, but to setting standards of security and privacy for users. By standards, we mean a solution that converges towards compliance with the AI principles established by the OECD. Italy was one of the first countries to join the GPAI and support its objectives. 

What would you say have been the main achievements of the GPAI so far ?

The entire GPAI community has done an outstanding job of making this partnership an operational reality. Its pragmatic approach has materialised in a number of Working Groups, including the Responsible AI group, AI and Pandemic Response group, and the creation of a virtual laboratory as part of the Future of Work group. In the case of the latter, involving a student community in the first phase of expansion was particularly interesting, because the students were able to contribute some really fresh perspectives and analyses that even the most brilliant of academics lack. 

How would you define the challenges that lie ahead ?

The expansion of the GPAI to include more countries is both a positive development and a laborious undertaking: academics and new participants have to go through a startup phase designed to bring them up to speed with existing practices that have already been fully integrated by longer standing members. The GPAI already operates efficiently, but there are further improvements that could be made. 

Which projects would Italy like to see developed upon in future GPAI discussions ? 

The impact of Artificial Intelligence on public services is probably a future issue to be discussed within the GPAI. Some countries, including the USA, Israel and, to a lesser extent, Japan, are already doing work in this area. Additionally, it would be desirable to develop a European approach, which would undoubtedly be very well received by countries such as France, Italy and Germany, where governmental services often remain grandiose and complex. Applying Artificial Intelligence to public policies would enable the public sector to contribute towards achieving a certain level of digital independence. At the same time, it would improve public services and contribute to greater transparency.

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