the president of the Chamber Committee, the institutions must listen, regulating badly would mean doing great damage
Anna Ascani, vice president of the Chamber and president of the Montecitorio Documentation Committee which has been dealing with artificial intelligence in recent months, do more risks or more opportunities arise from the use of ‘AI’? “The opportunities are countless and unexplored, potentially AI can be an extraordinary support in healthcare, for the protection of the environment, for fragile people. But it also entails unprecedented risks, which however for the first time are quite clear to almost all of political decision makers”, explains Ascani to Adnkronos, fresh from a mission in the United States with meetings with Microsoft, AWS, Salesforce, OpenAI, Google, Meta among others.
The ‘AI safety summit’ has just ended in London with a declaration on safe artificial intelligence signed by the EU but also by the USA and China, among others. What judgment can be given? “This is a very good first step. Participation in the summit was not limited to the G7 countries, it went beyond the Western countries. Now we will have to see how the principles are translated into rules. It is not simple, the various countries have very different systems from each other. Let’s think about China. The conclusions of the summit suggest a global agreement, it is the only possibility. If the rules are not global they are not rules. But other appointments have been announced in 2024, there is be optimistic.”
You are vice president of the Chamber, what are the answers that the legislator must give to regulate this innovative sector? “One issue, shared by large companies, is the idea of ’tagging’ content with a ‘watermark’. There is availability on this. But we need to find the standard for all platforms, so that content produced with AI is recognized as such. This is not far off. There are, however, difficulties with data, with transparency in the data chain. European copyright, for example, is more sensitive than that of other realities. Elsewhere the issue is felt much less. We need to find common rules also on the protection of people.”
(Adnkronos) – What could be the applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Chamber of Deputies? “The Committee carried out its work from April to October, we will make a report between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024 in which we will collect the results of the hearings and meetings held. Then phase 2, that of use, will begin. The Chamber is already using the ‘AI for shorthand supports but generative AI, as with Chat Gpt, is something else both in terms of opportunities and risks. It can facilitate parliamentary work but it will be necessary to evaluate what type of technology to use and experiment with. Some institutions they are already doing, like the US Congress. Demonstrating that the Chamber is not dealing with the ‘scary’ part but with the opportunities of AI is a good sign of the willingness to get to the bottom of it.”
What elements were you able to gather from the meetings with companies and experts held during the Committee’s mission to the United States, which also held a series of hearings in recent months? “There is a much higher rate of awareness than in the past, I am referring to the beginning of social media, when it was difficult to talk about risks. This time everyone is very clear that there is also a dimension of risk, they are available to dialogue with the regulators. It seems to me to be a very positive attitude. The indications received are for clear rules, but there is a desire to support the institutions”.
And how should institutions behave when faced with artificial intelligence? “It takes great humility and the ability to listen, both of specialists and technicians but also of everything that concerns the ethical aspect. A great effort must be made to regulate well because regulating badly would mean doing great damage. I believe that the path we have undertaken, listening to understand what the best path might be and the correct attitude. In order to finish first, we must avoid making mistakes.”