Italy's cabinet outlines framework, investment for Artificial Intelligence

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows words "Artificial Intelligence AI\

By Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's cabinet approved a bill on Tuesday aimed at laying down ground rules for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), earmarking investment in the sector and setting sanctions for AI-related crimes, ministers said.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said AI will be among the key issues of Italy's presidency of the Group of Seven wealthy nations (G7), which lasts until the end of this year.

A draft of the bill seen by Reuters after the cabinet meeting says Italy will establish a national AI strategy ensuring the instrument is applied "with respect for the autonomy and decision-making power" of human beings.

The bill envisages an initial investment of up to 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) to promote AI projects and startups, which will be backed by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

"These are the first resources, albeit significant, and later we will see if there are further needs," Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told reporters at a news conference.

The government is also aiming to enforce sanctions including jail terms against perpetrators of AI-related crimes.

"The advent of new technologies ... can create problems that in turn constitute gaps in protection (which) must necessarily be filled by criminal law," Justice Minister Carlo Nordio said at the same news conference.

The European Union as a whole is moving closer to adopting its own rules on AI tools, which will have to comply with specific transparency obligations and EU copyright laws.

The Italian government's bill will now go before parliament for discussion and possible amendment.

($1 = 0.9344 euros)

(Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones)