Malta Initiates Task Force for Artificial Intelligence

What has been achieved with the focus on blockchain tech­nol­o­gy, the adop­tion of an inno­v­a­tive frame­work for dis­trib­uted ledger tech­nol­o­gy and the organ­i­sa­tion of blockchain con­fer­ences — name­ly to posi­tion Mal­ta as “Blockchain Island” — is now to serve as an exam­ple for a new ini­tia­tive. Mal­ta is to receive a nation­al strat­e­gy for arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.

Sil­vio Schem­bri, Junior Min­is­ter for Finan­cial Ser­vices, Dig­i­tal Econ­o­my and Inno­va­tion, used the media atten­tion at the  , co-organ­ised by the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment, to announce the for­ma­tion of an expert group on Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) on 1st Novem­ber. Fol­low­ing the exam­ple of the Blockchain Ini­tia­tive, a group of experts from busi­ness, acad­e­mia and pol­i­tics will work togeth­er to devel­op pro­grammes and frame­work con­di­tions that will enable Mal­ta to posi­tion itself as an inno­v­a­tive and tech­nol­o­gy-friend­ly loca­tion for AI.

AI and Blockchain: A Promising Combination?

Imme­di­ate­ly after Sil­vio Schembri’s speech, a high-pro­file expert pan­el dis­cussed pos­si­ble over­laps and com­bi­na­tion poten­tial of blockchain and AI. Vince Vel­la (head of the AI and Fin­Tech study pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mal­ta) point­ed out that arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, for exam­ple, could pro­vide solu­tions for the great­est chal­lenge for blockchain tech­nol­o­gy — the speed of trans­ac­tions. Applied wise­ly, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, for exam­ple, could detect ways to speed up the pro­cess­ing of trans­ac­tions.

It should also be not­ed that arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence is based more on a prob­a­bilis­tic deci­sion mod­el and blockchain on a deter­min­is­tic one. Fed­er­at­ed learn­ing was also men­tioned — a new approach to machine learn­ing in which data does not have to be col­lect­ed on a cen­tral serv­er to be used as the basis for train­ing an algo­rithm. Rather, the data could remain on the users’ devices, while the blockchain would serve as an access-con­trol man­ag­er and users would be reward­ed with tokens for shar­ing their data. This is of course nec­es­sary as an incen­tive for users to use crowd­sourc­ing to make their data avail­able for the train­ing of algo­rithms, i.e. machine learn­ing.

Fin­tech expert and Pro­fes­sor Sal­ly Eaves stressed the need for an inten­sive exchange between indus­tries such as Blockchain, AI, but also experts from the Inter­net of Things sec­tor in order to explore the com­mon pos­si­bil­i­ties. It was also nec­es­sary for the dis­cus­sion on Blockchain and AI among experts to reach the gen­er­al pub­lic so that the top­ics could be made acces­si­ble and com­pre­hen­si­ble to a big­ger audi­ence.

Over­all, all pan­elists agreed that both tech­nolo­gies would offer great poten­tial, but that the best pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tions and busi­ness ideas based on them had yet to be devel­oped. The Blockchain Island Mal­ta with its flour­ish­ing Blockchain scene and pos­si­bly soon the first clear AI frame­work could offer exact­ly the right breed­ing ground for this.

Success Template: Malta Positioning Itself as Blockchain Island

As writ­ten on the initiative’s web­site, one would like to achieve what has been achieved with the Blockchain top­ic for arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence as well. The task force is sup­posed to con­duct inten­sive dis­cus­sions with stake­hold­ers in order to cre­ate aware­ness for the great­est oppor­tu­ni­ties but also for ques­tions around the top­ic.

Of course, one of the inten­tions is to strength­en the country’s econ­o­my and to expand it with a major future indus­try. At the end of the process stands a pol­i­cy or nation­al strat­e­gy that takes equal account of eth­i­cal, social­ly respon­si­ble and tech­ni­cal aspects of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.

In short, Mal­ta is to become an attrac­tive AI loca­tion and for­eign direct invest­ment is to be gen­er­at­ed in this sec­tor, which is still in its infan­cy. Mea­sures to be tak­en by the gov­ern­ment in the form of leg­is­la­tion and invest­ment in infra­struc­ture are also to be iden­ti­fied in order to achieve this goal. In addi­tion, use cas­es are to be exam­ined that can be used by the gov­ern­ment itself to pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices to its cit­i­zens.

Cooperation Between Politics, Science and Business

With the selec­tion of the mem­bers of the task force, the gov­ern­ment relies on an inten­sive exchange of knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence among experts from all areas of soci­ety. Sci­en­tists, politi­cians as well as entre­pre­neurs with a back­ground in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are rep­re­sent­ed in the task force. The inter­dis­ci­pli­nary dia­logue should help to devel­op an effec­tive and com­pre­hen­sive nation­al strat­e­gy for AI.

The Task Force, which is under the con­trol of the recent­ly estab­lished Mal­ta Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tion Author­i­ty (MDIA), is led by Wayne Grix­ti, who has also been a mem­ber of the team of experts respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing Malta’s Blockchain strat­e­gy. Anoth­er mem­ber is Alex­iei Dingli, PhD, who is research­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty, deep learn­ing and machine learn­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mal­ta.

Malta Wants To Establish A Competence Center for AI & Invest in AI-Start-ups

At the same time, the aim is to explore the still unknown and hid­den risks and dan­gers of AI with­out hin­der­ing inno­va­tion and eco­nom­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal progress. The goal is to attract invest­ment and cre­ate new, promis­ing jobs on the sun­ny island of Mal­ta.

Also excit­ing: the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment announces that it is work­ing on the estab­lish­ment of a com­pe­tence cen­tre for research, devel­op­ment and appli­ca­tion of AI tech­nolo­gies. In addi­tion, the gov­ern­ment would also like to invest in promis­ing AI start-ups in order to prof­it eco­nom­i­cal­ly from the future indus­try.

In order to suit the actions to the words, the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment is test­ing an excit­ing appli­ca­tion togeth­er with Sin­gu­lar­i­tyNET, the man­u­fac­tur­er of the AI robot “Sophia” known from the  . In a pilot project, a cit­i­zen­ship test for AI robots is to be devel­oped.

As Sil­vio Schem­bri explains, the inten­tion behind the pilot project is to find out how well AI robots can under­stand civ­il law pro­vi­sions and cit­i­zen­ship. This should help to cre­ate legal frame­works and laws that can har­ness the poten­tial of AI for the well-being and ben­e­fit of the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion.

Whether for the foun­da­tion of a blockchain start-up, con­duct­ing an ini­tial coin offer­ing or the estab­lish­ment of a com­pa­ny that wants to cre­ate great inno­va­tions and change the world with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence — Mal­ta as a cul­tur­al melt­ing pot and inter­na­tion­al blockchain hotspot and soon AI hub is the ide­al address for com­pa­nies that want to work on the dig­i­tal future today.

If you would like to know more about the pos­si­bil­i­ties for your start-up com­pa­ny to set up in Mal­ta, please con­tact us right here. We offer a wide range of con­sult­ing ser­vices in the area of blockchain and cryp­to ser­vices.

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