BioLaw Journal n. 1/2022 | Smart Cities and Central State Administrations

The BioLaw Journal recently published its issue n. 1/2022, entitled "AI & Law | Law and power in the digital age" with a focus on “Smart cities and central administrations facing artificial intelligence: comparing experiences”. The issue contains two reports on these topics.

This focus completes the in-depth study presented in issue 4/2021 of Bio-Law Journal, on the use of artificial intelligence in the Italian administrative system. The latter included two reports dedicated to independent authorities (the first on Consob, Arera, AgCom, and the second on the Bank of Italy) and presented the results of a survey on how some Italian administrations are facing the AI challenges. In particular, given the incomplete and uncertain nature of the existing regulatory framework, the contributions collected offered a significant mapping of the AI applications used (or being tested) and their potential in relation to both the various public functions performed and the different administrations involved. The emerging picture makes it possible to effectively reconstruct the advantages and limitations, the potential and the risks of using AI in the public sphere.

The research was curated by Edoardo Chiti, Barbara Marchetti and Nicoletta Rangone in the working group dedicated to the topic “Administration and Artificial Intelligence” within a wider Astrid study on “AI and legal profiles” (coordinated by Alessandro Pajno and Filippo Donati).

After meetings with various administrations, the focus of this second part of the study was on some of the most advanced applications of artificial intelligence within some Italian cities. The seminar started with some basic questions, proposed to all the administrations intervening in the various meetings, which can be summarised as follows:

  • What artificial intelligence applications do Italian administrations use and to perform what tasks?
  • How do they choose AI systems and how do they govern them?

The speakers at the third seminar were also asked what kind of implementations there have been following the PNRR and what is the role of the private sector in the development of these technologies. From the discussion, it emerged that in Italy there are excellences that have devoted a great deal of attention to the digital transition, well before the post-pandemic context in which we now live.

The focus on smart cities was complemented by a fourth seminar, aimed at assessing how the artificial intelligence phenomenon is affecting central government administrations. The attention was based on a number of basic questions, the same ones that motivated the survey conducted on independent authorities, mentioned in the first report, and on smart cities. The issues that are significant for a comparative analysis of the experiences of INPS, Agenzia delle Entrate and the Ministry of Justice concerned:

  • the choices on the acquisition of the artificial intelligence system, both from the point of view of governance and from the point of view of the method of acquisition of the system.
  • The type of artificial intelligence systems chosen and the tasks entrusted to them.
  • The relationship between public and private data with regard to the construction of data lakes necessary for the development of machine learning algorithms;
  • The last central profile calls for questions on the regulatory framework. It would be important to know what are the guidelines or principles that, in this phase of experimentation and development, guide the choices of public administrations.

The focus on is divided as follows:

Report 3/2022 - SMART cities and artificial intelligence:

  • Venice, Francesco Meneghetti (Chief Executive Officer, MindIcity s.r.l.
  • Padua, Carlo Rossi Chauvenet (Data Valley)
  • Trento, Giovanni Fioroni (Municipality of Trento)

Report 4/2022 - Artificial intelligence and central administrations:

  • Giuseppe Buono, Central Director of Technology and Innovation, Revenue Agency
  • Pierpaolo Bonanni, Head of the Technology Innovation Area of INPS
  • Giovanna Del Mondo, Head of the Office for Contributory Regularity and Professional Areas at the Central Directorate for Information Technology and Innovation (CTII) of INPS
  • Antonella Ciriello, Judge - Advisor to the Minister of Justice

Luca Megale
is a PhD Student at LUMSA University of Rome 

and tutor of the European Master in Law and Economics - EMLE (Rome term)