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Italian G20 Presidency: second Digital Economy Task force meeting

The Presidency focused on topics of common interest, such as artificial intelligence for the public sector, digital identity, rights, and agile regulation.

  • The Presidency based the discussion on challenges and opportunities brought about by digital technologies,
  • It also reflected on how COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation,
  • It shed a light on digital technologies’ implications in terms of rights and inclusion.
Date 22 march 2021
Reading time
2 minutes

Starting December 1st 2020, Italy holds the Presidency of G20, the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies. In addition to the Summit, which will be held in Rome on October 30th and 31st, several ministerial meetings, working groups, and special events are scheduled to take place throughout 2021. The Department of digital transformation is a member of the Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.

On March 18th and 19th 2021, the second meeting of the Digital Economy Task Force (DEFT), of which the Department is a member, took place. During the two day-long meeting, the Presidency introduced the main points arisen from the consultations with the members. The Presidency will keep on building on the work done by the previous Presidencies – Argentinian, Japanese, and Saudi – and take into account how COVID-19 unexpectedly accelerated the digital transformation. During the meeting, the participants expressed their interest in how AI and digital technologies have been used to face the pandemic.

Digital technologies: challenges and opportunities

By following up on the areas of intervention discussed during the first DEFT meeting, the Presidency focused, in the course of the second meeting, on shared emerging topics, which bring about both opportunities and relevant challenges.

The first item for discussion was Digital Tools for the public sector, focusing in particular on artificial Intelligence as a tool with a great potential to develop and deliver public services. If used correctly, the AI can meet the needs of the citizens and facilitate the work of governments and businesses.

AIcan also help to implement proactive digital public services, tailored to citizens' needs. Those services, however, should be transparent, understandable, and easy to use, to strengthen the trust between citizens and governments. In the context of digital services, the topic of digital identity was also widely debated. Regardless of the different technological solutions adopted by countries, the participants shared a common vision on digital identity as a “service” able to foster economic and social inclusion for all individuals.

The sphere of rights is another relevant topic which is interconnected to all the previous ones: it is necessary that AI and other digital services are developed and used in compliance with human rights and avoiding discriminatory practices. In addition, citizens should retain control of their privacy and their data.

Finally, the discussion focused on agile regulation as a tool to foster innovation and experimentation: in this regard, the Presidency started a consultation with G20members and invited guests to map the different approaches to agile regulation adopted across member countries.