Italy allocates funds to shield workers from AI replacement threat

Italy allocates funds to shield workers from AI replacement threat

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ROME — Italy on Monday earmarked 30 million euros ($33 million) to improve the skills of unemployed people as well as those workers whose jobs could be most at risk from the advance of automation and artificial intelligence.

According to the Fondo per la Repubblica Digitale (FRD), set up in 2021 by the Rome government to boost the digital skills of Italians, 54% of those aged 16-74 lack basic digital skills, compared with an average 46% in the European Union.

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The funding in improving training will be allocated in two ways, FRD said.

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Of the total, 10 million euros will go towards boosting the skills of those whose jobs are at high risk of being replaced due to automation and technological innovation.

The remaining 20 million euros will be allocated to help unemployed and economically inactive people develop digital skills that would improve their chances of entering the job market, FRD said.

A wide range of jobs could come under threat from automation, FRD said, citing sectors including transport and logistics, office support and administration, production, services and the retail sector.

The growing spread of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation and the rapid development of tools such as ChatGPT have attracted attention from lawmakers and regulators in several countries.

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 ChatGPT chatbot was unavailable in Italy for around four weeks until its maker OpenAI addressed issues raised by Italy’s data protection authority in late April. ($1 = 0.9084 euros) (Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Federico Maccioni, editing by Keith Weir)

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