Fondazione Leonardo – CdM to guarantee the principles of democracy in the digital society

Rome  21 November 2019 12:49

Contributing to the definition of the ethical and legal parameters required to favour the development of the new technologies; preserving the centrality of mankind; strengthening the respect for the fundamental rights and the values of democracy, in the perspective of digital humanism. These are the objectives of “International Conference on the Ethics and Law of Artificial Intelligence (AI)” organized by Fondazione Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine on November 21 and 22, 2019 at the Chamber of Deputies.

The event, which is attended by academic experts, representatives of the institutions and high tech companies, has been introduced by Luciano Violante, President of Fondazione Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, Alessandra Todde, Undersecretary of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and by Giovanna Boda, Director General at Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). Professor Jürgen Schmidhuber, Director of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Idsia) of Lugano and Chief Scientist at NNAISENSE delivered the introductory lectio magistralis.

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Minister of Education, University and Research, stated: “technological innovation has made society more interconnected, shortened distances and simplified many aspects of everyday life. It is thus necessary to inform about and teach a conscious use of available technologies, understanding their strengths and weaknesses. The aim of this initiative, indeed, is to contribute to the common reflection on the ethical and legal framework necessary to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of innovation”.
On the second day, the conference will be attended by the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, by Federico Faggin, inventor of the microchip and the touch screen, and by Professor Luciano Floridi of the Oxford Internet Institute.

The event is attended by 250 participants and includes speeches by managers of large companies in the sector and by 70 Italian and foreign scholars and experts registered as discussants and speakers. Moreover, 60 students from the Engineering Departments of the universities La Sapienza, Tor Vergata and Roma Tre, as well as 40 high school students from Rome selected by the MIUR, will be following the proceedings.
“The Foundation thus opens up” remarked Luciano Violante, President of Fondazione Leonardo “not only to the world of research and industry, but also to the younger generations to involve them in our research activities”. 

“The increasingly pervasive use and the multiple potential applications of Artificial Intelligence, particularly in the Aerospace Defense and Security sector, represent a central issue in the development of new applications, solutions and innovative services for citizens and communities”, emphasises Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. “Large technologically advanced companies, like Leonardo, must play a key role in driving this development. Managing the digital transformation means the consideration of its ethical impact, as well as fostering and guiding a global vision of the rules that govern it internationally. At a European level, it will be important for our continent to be able to develop and maintain our own vision and identity in this specific technological area; but without losing sight of the issue on competitiveness” adds Profumo.

The Conference is held on the basis of three papers, written by ad hoc working groups coordinated by Maria Chiara Carrozza (Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies), Alessandro Pajno (LUISS University) and Stefano Quintarelli (Associazione Copernicani) dealing with the technical, ethical and juridical principles for a new governance of AI, to allow its development while guaranteeing human rights as well as democratic values. 

This is not an abstract discussion: this is the first time that the ethical and legal principles of AI in the fields of healthcare, justice, security and finance are discussed within the same venue, through specialized panels and mutual exchange. The objective is to offer a framework for the industries dealing with AI and to propose political decision-makers with a set of rules for the application of new technologies. 


Fondazione Leonardo – Civiltà delle Macchine was set up in November 2018 upon the initiative of Leonardo Company with the aim to develop a dialogue with civil society, enhance the cultural and museum heritage, promote industrial and business culture, and spread knowledge on the value of new technologies, in line with the perspective of a new digital humanism. Among the project areas of Fondazione Leonardo is also the quarterly publication of the magazine Civiltà delle Macchine to foster an exchange between scientific knowledge and the arts.

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