@CCS, I have found a much more exciting document on AI than the anodyne Italian contribution. It is the Villani report to the French parliament. Cédric Villani is a mathematician and a member of parliament. What he has to say:
California still dominates in word and in thought and encourages the concept of a single way, technological deterministic approach. If the development of artificial intelligence is fully shaped by private stakeholders, based abroad France and Europe will have no other choice than to their vision. This is already happening in the public sector. Think of the agreement signed between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education during the previous five-year term and the DGSI’suse of software provided by Palantir—a startup with links to the CIA. This is equally true in the private sector. Across Europe, businesses convinced that they have already lost the battle frequently succumb to the persuasive powers of the U. S tech giants, sometimes at the expense of our own digital “nuggets”. […] Considering that France and Europe can already be regarded as “cybercolonies” in many aspects, it is essential that they resist all forms of determinism by proposing a coordinated response at European level.
This is why the role of the State must be reaffirmed: market forces alone are proving an inadequate guarantee of true political independence. In addition, the rules governing international exchanges and the opening up of internal markets do not always serve the economic interests of European states, who too frequently apply them in one direction only. Now more than ever, we have to provide a meaning to the AI revolution. (emphasis mine)
France has the historical role of pushing Europe to do things its own way, rather than passively follow America (or, in the present day, China) around. If the French get behind this position, we have a real opportunity for Mariana Mazzucato’s vision of mission-oriented innovation to become Europe’s battlecry in AI (and, why not, in Internet technology in general).
I only read the executive summary of the report, but it seems sharper than the Italian one, and it contains some actionable ideas. But its main value is, of course, in signaling political commitment. I came across it after one of my favorite scientists, Cesar Hidalgo (director of MIT’s Collective Learning group), announced on Twitter he’s moving to Europe, citing the Villani report as having inspired the creation of a new Institute at U Manchester: