The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

€40 million investment for digital transformation of the public administration

Giulia Magri Monday, 17 June 2019, 13:08 Last update: about 2 months ago

‘Mapping Tomorrow’ is a strategic plan for the digital transformation of public administration with an investment of €40 million, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today.

The money will be used for the digitalisation of Malta’s public administration and to introduce a strategic plan for Artificial Intelligence to become part of Maltese reality, he said.

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The government has a long history of accomplishments, and the public administration has undergone a radical change in the last years. “This is the next big leap forward. Technology will continue to be part of the government’s services and we will continue to invest in technologies such as BlockChain and Artificial Intelligence.”

Muscat was speaking at the launch of the Strategic Plan for Digital Transformation of Public Administration, which was held at the National Library of Malta, in Valletta.

‘Mapping Tomorrow’, a three-year plan, aims to improve the public administration services for citizens and businesses and provide them with the necessary information or assistance they need. The concept of the strategic plan is to offer one main portal to find all the relevant government services.

Muscat said that the Once Only Principle will be incorporated. A person would require to provide data and information to the government only once, eliminating the need to repeat information constantly for every government service.

Muscat said that the Once Only Principle will be a breakthrough in how the citizens will benefit in the public administration services. “The constant repetition of inputting the same information was one of the most common complaints we received,” said Muscat. “Now we will be removing this and focusing on safeguarding such valuable and personal information. We will implement strict and transparent regulations of how and what is to be done with such data and information.”

Integration of Artificial Intelligence in our reality

‘Mapping Tomorrow’ highlights the importance of Artificial Intelligence and how once such computer systems will be integrated in society, they will be able to perform tasks normally required by humans, much more efficiently and correctly.

Muscat said that he looks forward to continue working and studying how AI can be implemented in society. “We already see how our hospitals have implemented AI services, which are distributing medicines to our patients, which brings about more efficiency and accountability.”

Muscat hopes to see AI also being used in the tourist sector. “As more time passes, I hope such means of technology will be implemented and people see AI, blockchain and virtual reality a part of their own reality.”

He said that by embracing and applying such means of technology has helped improve quality of government services, reduced waiting list and queues and saved citizens own personal time. “Today, one can open a business by just filling out one form, where in the past that person had to fill in numerous forms.”

Muscat said that the public administration aims to provide citizens and businesses with the information or assistance they need. “This is not just one step forward but 10 steps forward for our country and the nation is ready for the future.”

Technology is part of the future of Public Administration: Mario Cutajar

Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar said that the strategic plan is an important as it involves numerous projects and initiatives for future developments for a public administration which meets the needs of the country. “We need to have a clear vision of what is being done in the present and what needs to be done for the future; that is why the strategy is called ‘Mapping Tomorrow’.”

He stressed that the strategic plan focuses on developing a service which puts clients at the forefront and centre of these services, and not the other way. Cutajar also stressed that AI must become more involved in the future, and that such computer programmes have the ability to do such public service work better than humans. He also said that discussions have begun on how to implement more AI services and to develop correct policies on how to adopt such new forms of technology.

 

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