Italy plans state-backed fund to promote AI startups


FILE PHOTO: Artificial Intelligence words are seen in this illustration taken March 31, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's government plans to set up an investment fund backed by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to promote startups investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), cabinet undersecretary Alessio Butti said on Tuesday.

The upcoming vehicle will "promote study, research and programming on AI in Italy," Butti said in a statement.

The growing spread of AI and automation, and the rapid development of tools such as ChatGPT have attracted attention from politicians and regulators around the world.

Many experts say new regulations are needed to govern AI because of its potential impact on national security and education, as well as jobs.

"The government is looking at developments in artificial intelligence, an area where a balance must be struck between human rights and technological evolution," Butti said.

"We aim to increase the independence of Italian industry and cultivate our own national capacity to develop expertise and research in such a strategic sector."

A government source told Reuters Rome planned to earmark around 150 million euros ($165 million) to launch the fund.

CDP is expected to invest its own resources in the scheme through CDP Venture Capital, a fund with around 3.2 billion euros in assets under management.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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