Artificial intelligence

Global Issue: Italian Watchdog’s AI Personnel Challenge

Garante, an Italian data protection agency, has hired 4 artificial intelligence (AI) experts to strengthen its team, according to a Reuters report.

TakeAway Points:

  • Garante has recruited 4 AI experts to strengthen its team.
  • The Italian watchdog was unable to hire the individuals it desired due to an increase in AI talent demand. 
  • The United States has shown that it is willing to pay more and to be more accommodating when it comes to hiring experts.

Garante Hires Experts

According to the report, due to a rising problem facing regulators worldwide, the Italian watchdog was unable to hire the individuals it desired since twelve candidates withdrew due to concerns about compensation.

“The search process went worse than our low expectations. We will come up with something else, but so far we have lost.” Guido Scorza, Garante board member, told Reuters.

Demand For AI Experts

With the release of ChatGPT by OpenAI in late 2022, there has been a sharp increase in demand for AI experience and knowledge, and regulators are competing for talent from the same thin pool.

However, industry insiders with knowledge of the situation told Reuters that their hiring goals are being impeded by lengthy hiring procedures, comparatively low compensation, and visa issues.

Similar issues may soon arise for other EU public agencies, as the EU is implementing some of the most comprehensive and significant AI regulations globally.

The European Union has begun hiring for two positions: the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT), which deals with the Digital Services Act and the AI Act, and the recently established AI Office, which will supervise the AI Act’s enforcement.

“The biggest problem will be enforcement and getting people for this,” said EU lawmaker Dragos Tudorache, who oversaw the drafting of the AI Act.

In the meantime, the United Kingdom is still accepting applications for its own AI Safety Institute, which was established following its meeting with world leaders in October.

Many of the public sector jobs that these organisations advertise pay salaries that are much below industry averages and seem to be targeted at fresh graduates, which some worry may discourage the best candidates.

Governments globally have acknowledged that, in order to stay up-to-date with rapidly advancing technology, they require AI expertise.

The United States has shown that it is willing to pay more and to be more accommodating when it comes to hiring practices.

As part of an ongoing “talent rush” in government, the U.S. Office for Personnel Management (OPM) has authorised government departments to expedite the traditional hiring procedure by granting them the authority to acquire AI experts more swiftly under President Joe Biden.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a bold initiative in February to create a new “AI Corps,” aiming to assemble 50 AI experts.

The AI Safety Institute’s chair, Ian Hogarth, told Reuters that the group has been successful in bringing in specialists from firms like Google DeepMind and OpenAI.

Ian Hogarth, AI Safety Institute chair, told Reuters that the group had been successful in bringing in specialists from Google DeepMind and OpenAI, among other companies.

“While we do benchmark our salaries against those on offer in industry, the technical experts that are joining us from the top of their fields do so seeking more than a high salary. They are joining to contribute to a critical mission to make sure these models are safe,” he said.


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