The Malta Independent 29 September 2021, Wednesday

Watch: Government launches National Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 3 October 2019, 11:58 Last update: about 3 years ago

The government has launched the National AI strategy today, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy Silvio Schembri both delivering speeches during the Delta Summit.

The document, called 'Malta the Ultimate AI Launchpad: A Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta 2030', aims to ensure that benefits brought about by this next wave of innovation delivers benefits across all segments of Maltese society.


Speaking at the Summit, Muscat highlighted that this year's summit doubled in size, from 4,500 people registering last year, to 10,000 this year.

"This summit is one of the best opportunities for Malta to showcase our progress, our achievements and our dedication in areas of emerging technology to the world," Muscat said.

"We made great strides compared to other countries as we were ambitious in our initiatives." He said other jurisdictions were sometimes reluctant to regulate tech, like Blockchain, unlike Malta.

Muscat said that the government's work is now moving to the AI and E-sport sectors, adding that the governance recognises the importance of emerging technologies.

"We want to be the government that becomes one of the first that is AI powered and leads by example. We are committed to implementing pilot projects in priority areas like education, healthcare, transport and customer relations. We encounter AI daily, from the algorithms controlling our newsfeed, to the use of search engines."

Parliamentary Secretary Schembri said that the government has taken a clear stance on technological innovation. "It should be embraced and not stifled. Malta should be a disrupter rather than a follower, in order to bring about positive social and economic transformation."

Schembri said that Malta has established itself as a leader in new technology, and that now Malta is setting out to place itself on the map in the AI sector.

He expects AI to become a key driver with which people, R&D, and investment can grow on the island. He also expects technology to become even more intertwined in everyday life, "enhancing the way we live and our entertainment."

"I am proud to announce that Malta will become the first country to launch a National AI Certification programme," he said, which will be built on Malta's ethical AI framework, aiming to create trust in AI, transparency and accountability.

The programme will be voluntary initially, and aims to provide applicants with valuable recognition in the marketplace, that their AI systems developed in a transparent and responsible manner.   Certification would be given after an audit by independent examiners takes place.

"We want to team up with, share and also co-innovate with governments, organisations, researchers and others from around the globe to explore, showcase and champion the benefits AI delivers.  We want to become the ultimate AI launchpad,  a place where local and foreign companies can develop and test AI and showcase the value of their innovation across an entire nation primed for adoption. We want to create platform for AI to springboard it across the world ."

The strategy itself, he said, has over 70 actions.  " I commit that we will do utmost to have all these initiatives in place by the end of 2022."

This strategy takes a holistic approach and aims to give due focus to needs of different groups, he said.  The strategy includes three areas  which are central to the implementation of the strategy. These are investment, public sector adoption and private sector adoption.

Innovation is at the heart of Malta's AI strategy and is interlinked with investment and economic activity from both local and foreign business, Schembri added.

"Malta will seek to attract and develop talent, drive investment, and incubate an ecosystem to allow the AI sector to flourish. The government will look to nurture, attract and welcome companies of all sizes, from start-ups to global tech leaders."

"Ai can play a transformative role in the way public sector resources are delivered, and can make government more efficient while improving internal operation and making better use of tax money."

He announced that the government will undertake at least 6 AI pilot projects in coming 3 years, including ones in the education, transportation and energy sectors.

Photos, video by Alenka Falzon


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