The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

AI and robotics require serious attention to skills gap or risk mass unemployment

Peter Agius Saturday, 23 March 2019, 08:14 Last update: about 2 years ago
Peter Agius, PN candidate for MEPs election, commends the creation of .AI Taskforce entrusted to develop a National AI Strategy. This sector has the potential of opening opportunities for youths, workers & businesses. 
However, the government document available for public consultation lacks emphasis on two crucial elements which should be part of the national strategy.
The first one being that artificial intelligence and robotics risk losses on sectors of employment. Hence, it is important that this National AI Strategy incorporates a strategy on developing the skills of Maltese workers so that they adapt to new employment in the digital revolution. It is estimated that in the next decade, in only four European countries, around five million jobs will be lost to robots.
Already in Malta, in some sectors, factories are requiring less human workforce as work is being done by robots. 
This may be an opportunity as we can reinforce our industry, however, it represents also a challenge that we must prepare and tackle appropriately. 
The MEP candidate said that Malta's job market can be particularly vulnerable to the digital revolution because of its high early school leaving rate. According the country specific recommendations published by the European Commission, there are serious skill gaps in the Maltese workforce. 
"This calls for immediate actions to bolster employee skills, particularly in IT," said the Tajani Speechwriter, Peter Agius.
"In the digital era we need to adapt and empower our workface in order to exploit opportunities. Europe provides us the tools to do so. In the next EU budget, the European Commission is proposing EUR 700 million in funds so that European workers adapt their skills to the digital world. Malta can also make use of a special digital fund in order to attract robotics, AI and start-ups," concluded Dr Agius
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