In view of the new edition of the Forum of November 3, after a year (read the considerations of 2019) we interview Piero Poccianti, President of AixIA to understand if something has changed in our country in the matter of widespread adoption of artificial intelligence in the world As always, the comparison with Piero Poccianti’s expertise is stimulating. His experience is a bearer of vision on a future that many imagine far away and is closer and more concrete, like bread.

One year after the last AI Forum organized in presence, what has changed for artificial intelligence in a country that, after the pandemic’s conclamation, has discovered that it is in digital transformation, living a digital divide and that anyway work is in the same place.

First of all, new initiatives are being launched by the industrial and business world. The latter are realising the new opportunities that the intelligence at Artificial can offer and try to understand what the best approach to take is. Secondly, several research doctorates and other projects have been set up to promote the dissemination of culture within companies. Finally, innovative industrial districts have emerged where companies offering solutions based on artificial intelligence, together with universities and research centres, provide services to specialized companies in other sectors, thus constituting a new industrial supply chain.

Who needs artificial intelligence most immediately: people, companies or the State?

In my opinion, all the actors mentioned need it. The State could use artificial intelligence to improve the services it provides; to obtain an optimal measurement of the results of the policies implemented and, finally, to provide concrete decision-making support to policymakers and administrators.

Companies, today more than ever, are called to face challenging challenges and redefine their business model. Artificial intelligence could therefore be a key ally able to make them more efficient and create new goods and services that respect both the well-being of individuals and the scarce environmental resources.

Last but not least, people need new tools, simplification, digital solutions that can protect them and, on the one hand, represent an alternative to traditional activities.

How is research, to which we assigned a fundamental task for the concrete dissemination (for projects) of artificial intelligence in companies?

Both basic and long-term research need new energy and investment. I believe, however, that the medium-term and short-term ones are starting again, thanks to the link that has been established between academia and business is a fruitful collaboration that is going in the direction we wanted. These are important signals, but much still needs to be done.

How is the work of the Confederation of Artificial Intelligence Laboratories going?

Claire, the world’s largest network for research into Artificial Intelligence, has recently obtained the management of some important projects, gaining increasingly importance and credibility at European level. But it must not be forgotten that there is still an imbalance between northern Europe and the southern countries. A gap that must be filled and, in order to achieve this result, it is of fundamental importance that Italy also commits itself.

AI Forum Live On November 3, on the platform l”Artificial Intelligence will be the protagonist of the digital edition of the “AI Forum Live,” an event organized by AixIA, the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence Among the main themes of the 2020 edition are industry 4.0, the international scenario, the socio-economic-environmental landscape, the modern business, artificial intelligence architectures and application areas. The potential of artificial intelligence will be explored in relation to the themes of manufacturing, ageing, healthcare, language, vision, tertiary, sustainability. AI Forum Live is sponsored by the European Commission, National Research Council, Bruno Kessler Foundation, National Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems of CINI, Politecnico di Milano and Università degli Studi Milano-Bico The sponsors include Aimage srl, Apply Lab srl, Datrix, QuestIT, Swiss Business hub and Tech Data Italia.

Is financing artificial intelligence in Italy a theme to be forfeited in the 200 billion Next Generation EU? (Let’s not call it Recovery Fund anymore)

Of course, investment must be directed towards infrastructure projects, in order to promote basic research and transfer technological progress towards the SMEs and micro companies that make up the Italian business fabric. This is why funding must be targeted and well-designed.

Is the Italian strategy for artificial intelligence launched by MISE in July still valid? Have we made any progress? Do we need correctives?

In September, a new document entitled “National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence” was published based on the previous paper prepared in July by experts. The new version is now being consulted. It is the view of the Association that the current document presents serious deficiencies and requires a thorough review of the contents. In our view, the strategy of experts was, in fact, much more significant and strategic.

Artificial intelligence in practice: the example of the baker

Can you give an example of concrete and replicable project based on applied artificial intelligence, which could do well to a typical Italian Pmi, indicating also times and ways of implementation?

There are many examples I could cite, but I would like to focus on one particularly suitable for craftsmen.

Think of a baker who intends to optimize his production, reducing the unsold and trying to meet the demands of customers. It needs to predict the necessary quantities of products for the next day.

These amounts are influenced by the history of its sales, but also by the festivities, the opening of schools, sports events and shows, news appearing in newspapers, the weather and much more.

All variables mentioned above can be integrated into a model providing forecasts.

I am convinced that it is possible to design such a product with a general infrastructure. The next step could be the customization of the algorithm to be carried out on the individual storekeeper considering data, geographical area, shop location, and so on.

It should be realized for professional associations, putting in common the needs of many and then perfected including the needs of the individual. Times? I think it takes 6 months for implementation and 2 years for a continuous improvement that should not stop even after. In my opinion, we will provide concrete support to bakers and bakers, but we will also avoid wasting food and raw materials.

When will we end, as a country, talking about artificial intelligence as something futuristic and miraculous, thinking instead of how to optimize its capabilities, soothe its harshness and spread its benefits?

When we begin to spread culture, through literacy programmes on artificial intelligence aimed at politicians but also at all citizens, taking for example some countries of northern Europe.

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