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.