Brad Smith Nel Testo Morning Future
Inspiring Best Practice 22 April Apr 2019 1449 22 April 2019

Brad Smith: “We have to be the brains behind Artificial Intelligence”

The Microsoft president has presented the new “Ambizione Italia per la Scuola” project, whose objective is to train 250 thousand students: “It is of fundamental importance to understand the ethical, political and social impact of new technologies”

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During his visit to Italy, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, presented Ambizione per la scuola” (Ambition for the School), to the students of the Politecnico di Milano: “a new initiative of the American multinational in collaboration with Fondazione Mondo Digitale, to prepare students to the jobs of the future.”

The project will involve 250 thousand students between 12 and 18 years and 20 thousand teachers throughout Italy - 80% of who come from the most disadvantaged areas of the country - through courses to acquire skills in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics, thanks to an experiential approach and the use of digital technologies. The courses will be held in 37 hubs located in 14 Italian regions.

Ambizione Italia per la Scuola is part of a broader Microsoft project, Ambizione Italia, launched in September 2018, to accelerate the digital transformation of the country, reducing the mismatch of skills in our country. The goal is to involve over 2 million young people, students, NEETs and professionals across Italy by 2020, training over 500,000 people and certifying 50,000 professionals, for an investment of 100 million euros for initiatives, programs and courses. Partners include Invitalia, The Adecco Group, LinkedIn, Cariplo Factory and Fondazione Mondo Digitale.

With this initiative, Microsoft is committed to making digital and artificial intelligence accessible to everyone, to make Italy a more competitive country and develop human capabilities.

During the event at the Politecnico di Milano, entitled: “Ambizione Italia: Artificial Intelligence and digital skills, looking into the future of employment”, Brad Smith spoke about the challenges of artificial intelligence, highlighting how “in the future we will all have to learn new skills: artificial intelligence will replace some jobs but will create others”.

“To realize the full potential of artificial intelligence we need to think beyond the technology itself. We need to work together to build a digital culture, where everyone has the digital skills they need to make their contribution and succeed,” Brad Smith said.
He then explained: “Microsoft has always been committed to helping students acquire the digital skills necessary to face the jobs of the future. But preparing new generations also means helping them to understand the ethical, political and social impact of new technological trends. Ambizione Italia is an important project that can help us do both.

Silvia Candiani, CEO of Microsoft Italia, and Brad Smith, Microsoft President

Artificial intelligence is a great resource for Italy: "The opportunities that AI offers to our country are enormous, given the present period of economic stagnation", says Silvia Candiani, CEO of Microsoft Italy. “It is estimated that artificial intelligence in Italy can contribute to raising GDP by 1%, thus doubling it, with a significant impact in all industries. The decisive factor for really reaping the benefits is the skills”.
However, the CEO of Microsoft Italy pointed out that Italy is one of the countries where skills mismatch, the imbalance between the professional needs of companies and the training offered, is strongest. “There is a lack of qualified professionals in the ICT sector, where in 2020 it is estimated that 135 thousand new positions which cannot be covered will open. It is therefore essential to invest in advanced training and help our young people acquire the skills they will need for the jobs of the future. This is the objective of the Ambizione Italia per la Scuola: to support traditional lessons with training on AI and robotics, to allow students to acquire functional and transversal skills essential to be ready for the world of employment”. The Microsoft project is developed both in universities and in schools: "We believe it is important that anyone attending a high school is able to imagine and understand what can be done with technologies in order to make an impact in the world, and then decide to enroll in a Stem faculty. In fact, even today in Italy only 20% of kids enroll in this type of faculty ", Silvia Candiani observed.

There is a lack of qualified professionals in the ICT sector, where in 2020 it is estimated that 135 thousand new positions that cannot be covered will open. It is therefore essential to invest in advanced training and help our young people to acquire the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.

Silvia Candiani, CEO of Microsoft Italy

Brad Smith at the Politecnico di Milano

During the event, Brad Smith announced that Microsoft is extending its partnership with the Politecnico di Milano and launching the third laboratory dedicated to artificial intelligence and big data that, together with the two started at the University Federico II of Naples and the Polytechnic di Bari -thanks to the pilot project in collaboration with Crui-Rectors’ Conference of Italian universities, - will contribute to the training of a total of 100 data scientists in this first phase.

“Artificial intelligence and big data are among the greatest technological and social challenges we are called to face. Challenges that find in the Politecnico di Milano, the first technical university in Italy, an attentive interlocutor on the most advanced research front, on the application front, on the one related to training and ethics. Challenges that we must and can face together with the leading companies in the sector that, like Microsoft, feel this responsibility and that together with us bet on the future of our students”, commented Ferruccio Resta, Rector of the Politecnico di Milano.

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