[WATCH] DELTA Summit: ‘Artificial Intelligence will be key driver for growth across Maltese islands’

Malta becomes first country to launch national AI certification programme as government pledges AI springboard from Malta to the rest of the world

Abdalla Kablan, Fintech expert
Abdalla Kablan, Fintech expert
Joseph Muscat addresses DELTA Summit 2019

Malta has become the first country in the world to launch a national Artificial Intelligence certification programme.

The programme goes hand-in-hand with the government’s AI strategy and will give recognition to developers of AI products that their systems have been developed in an ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible manners.

Launching the programme at the DELTA Summit on Thursday, digital innovation parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said the government was committed to creating the conditions for AI to springboard from Malta to the rest of the world.

 “Malta has established itself as a leader in new up-and-coming areas, such as distributed ledger technology […] In fact, we have gained global recognition as the blockchain island,” Schembri said.

“We’re setting up to put Malta on the map in the field of AI,” he highlighted, “We expect AI to be a key driver for growth across the Maltese islands, and the technology will become more deeply entwined in everyday life.”

Schembri said Malta aspires “to become the ultimate AI launchpad - a place where companies and entrepreneurs can develop, prototype, test and scale AI… and ultimately showcase the value of their innovations across an entire nation primed for adoption.”

He underlined that the “big change” which AI will bring is inevitable and has to be embraced and leveraged across society.

The government, Schembri said, aims to have all the initiatives envisioned by the AI strategy in place by the end of 2022.

Abdalla Kablan at DELTA Summit 2019

“Malta will seek to attract and develop talent, drive investment and incubate an innovative ecosystem that will allow the AI sector to flourish,” he said.

Economic development, he underlined, is prime objective and a key focus of the AI strategy. He said the government will seek to attract companies across all sectors in the AI industry.

Schembri added that six AI pilot projects – in the areas of education, traffic management, tourism, energy and water, health care and customer case – will be undertaken across the next three years.

Malta ambitious in its initiative to regularise technology – Prime Minister

Addressing the summit, the Prime Minister noted that the event had doubled in size since last year, and was now expecting 10,000 attendees.

“DELTA is one of the best opportunities for Malta to showcase its progress and achievements in the area of emerging technologies,” Joseph Muscat said.

 Malta, he said, has been ambitious in its initiatives and has taken decisions to regularise technology which were previously unregulated, and which other jurisdictions were reluctant to attempt to regulate.

One of the examples of this was its creation of a blockchain regulatory framework, he said. However, the government also recognised AI’s importance as an emerging technology, he underscored.

“We want to be one of the first government’s in the world that is AI-powered,” he said, “[…] AI can improve our lives and allow families to spend more quality time together.”

Muscat said that Malta was also working, through its space taskforce, on the country’s goal of attracting space commercialisation and creating a legal regime in this regard.

He added that the country had also devised a holistic strategy for Esports and video gaming, which would ultimately pave the way for establishing a strong infrastructure in the area.

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