As fears of artificial intelligence (AI) replacing millions of workers permeate globally, Italy has set aside over $30 million to train workers at risk of losing their jobs to AI.
AI has boomed since OpenAI’s ChatGPT debuted last November, and it’s now being integrated into every other industry. According to Goldman Sachs, the technology could replace over 300 million full-time jobs and a quarter of all work tasks in the U.S. and Europe. Some, like BT, Britain’s largest telco, want to replace 10,000 workers by 2030 with AI-powered automation.
Italy is already preparing for this uncertain future and has set aside 30 million euros ($33 million) to train its citizens for the age of AI. Through the Fondo per la Repubblica Digitale (FRD), a fund set up in 2021 to boost digital skills, Italy wants to supercharge its leap to becoming an AI powerhouse.
FRD will channel $11 million toward boosting the skills of workers most likely to be impacted by AI-powered automation and digitalization. It will fund companies and nonprofits in projects that upskill their workers on AI and other emerging technologies, including robotics and data science.
The rest of the funds will go towards training the unemployed on digital skills that give them an edge in today’s job market.
“It is necessary to adapt the know-how of workers with training on digital and soft skills so that people can do their jobs in a complementary way to the technology. This will enable companies and workers to experience it as an opportunity and not a threat,” Martina Lascialfari, the FRD’s head of institutional activities, commented.
Italy lags behind its European peers in the technology world. The FRD says that 54% of Italians between ages 16 and 74 lack basic digital skills, compared with an average of 46% in the rest of Europe.
As AI becomes more integral to most companies’ operations, the sector still needs more comprehensive regulations in most countries. There are also concerns about the technology and its use, some so significant that industry leaders like Elon Musk believe we should pause AI development for half a year. Some concerns, like bias and misinformation, must be handled through informed regulations. Others, like data integrity and security, can be solved through integration with blockchain technology.