The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

‘Artificial Intelligence to change life as we know it’ – PM

Monday, 5 November 2018, 13:43 Last update: about 7 days ago

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change not only basic concepts, such as work, but also life as we know it, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

Attending the International Economic and Trade Forum in Shanghai, China, Muscat gave a key-note speech during the parallel session on trade and innovation along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

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The Prime Minister said that trade protectionism is the inversely opposite of innovation, insisting that one cannot promote innovation and technological advancement while erecting barriers to trade.

“Similarly, in a market place which has become less dependent on the choice of location thanks to technology, smaller countries have found more space to operate in, with nimbleness being the main driver of their competitiveness.”

Muscat explained that this was what was being experienced in Malta, clarifying that technology has become one of the main driving forces of economic growth in sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, personal services and tourism.

This, he says, has led to innovation becoming a driver of legislation – drawing comparisons with Malta’s current situation where Malta became the first country in the world to enact a set of legislations to regulate blockchain technologies.

The Prime Minister continue his push for research and debate on Artificial Intelligence as he explained that he was “very surprised” at the reactions he gets when he suggests that “robot rights’ might not be that far off a subject to discuss.

He also criticized the arguments resisting AI as “almost identical to those opposing free trade flow and human flows or migration”.

“They all stem from the same sentiment: fear.”

“AI poses great challenges and they should not be forced or shouldered by one corporation, country or continent alone.”

Base Malta

Muscat also inaugurated new offices for Base Malta, a Maltese company based in Shanghai, China – a company that facilitates commerce between Maltese and Chinese companies.

The company acts as a consultancy firm that aids Chinese or Maltese individuals who would like to invest in the other by identifying commercial partners, and also as an interlocutor.

Various Chinese parties showed interest in investing in Malta, amongst them companies that produce drones who had already sent applications to Malta Enterprise, and also companies that provide beauty products manufactured from Chinese aromatic herbs. The latter would use Malta as a means to certify its products for Europe.

Muscat promoted the availability of Malta to push for further investment in our country with the help of Malta Enterprise.

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