Artificial Intelligence (AI) is profoundly changing all aspects of daily life. Ever since its inception in the 1950s—a period when Alan Turing published an article entitled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” considered by many to be the manifesto of AI—it has set itself ambitious goals and has achieved significant results, revolutionizing the way we live and work and improving efficiency in all spheres. Thanks to fruitful research carried out in this field in areas including artificial vision, understanding of natural language, decision support systems, and robotics, the potential benefits of AI are now evident. Consider, for example, the support systems that allow more informed decisions to be made in various areas; voice-assisted digital assistants; systems to assist the elderly; self-driving cars; automated drones for parcel delivery; machine learning algorithms used in precision medicine; not to mention cybersecurity and crypto-currency applications; automatic fraud detection systems; and factory automated production processes. From start-ups to established companies, from public administration to individual consumers, AI and cloud computing are transforming the business fabric at an unprecedented speed, albeit at different rates around the globe. It is hard now to imagine a segment of society that will not be transformed in the coming years by these new technologies.
The world of work will also see important changes globally in terms of reorganization, with tasks rather than roles being gradually assigned to machines and people, balancing the need to automate work with that of enhancing workers’ capabilities. A recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), for example, predicts that by 2022, AI will have created 133 million new jobs but also wiped out 75 million. The net result is positive, as long as AI is appropriately channeled.
The potential and actual applications of AI have created a stage for true international competition: AI is and will be the quintessence of state domination, for at least three reasons: economic opportunity (think of the quantity and scope of potential applications); “digital” opportunity (AI works on a huge amount of data and information and allows the benefits of the ongoing digital transformation to be fully grasped); social opportunity (the ability to affect people’s daily lives from the highest systems). If managed wisely and if pursued for the benefit of society as a whole, these opportunities have the unprecedented potential to improve people’s lives and economic productivity. While the United States and China are benefiting from the digital industry—highly developed in these two countries—the European context remains more fragmented and, despite the advances made in terms of AI ethics, it lacks a clear strategy for coordinating and structuring the ecosystem.