Maltese government unveils big plans for AI

Folake Dosu
November 5, 2018
Updated: April 29, 2019
Folake Dosu
November 5, 2018
Updated: April 29, 2019

malta-government-AI

After its parliament passed blockchain industry-friendly legislation earlier this year, Malta now has ambitions to bring AI to the national stage.

Not content to earn the nickname “World’s Blockchain Island,” after its parliament passed blockchain industry-friendly legislation earlier this year, Malta now has ambitions to bring AI to the national stage, Forbes reports

On November 1st, the country’s three DLT laws officially went into effect, allowing their nascent Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) and the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to accept applications from blockchain entities interested in Maltese operations. 

"It is very important to work together to create a rational basis for AI and robots to be considered citizens of a democracy, with all the rights and responsibilities that come along with it."

The same day that these regulations went into full swing, Malta’s Junior Minister, Silvio Schembri, announced plans to make Malta a leader of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) during a private event:

“We are extremely excited to be a part of the government of Malta’s creation of an AI-focused task force and the world first citizenship test for robots. The creation of the task force itself shows the government’s recognition of AI’s tremendous potential—and the reality that it must be balanced with risk, policy and ethical considerations. 

“The task force’s creation is just the very beginning, too. I’m confident the impressive mix of academics, entrepreneurs and experts being pulled together for the task force will put Malta in a leading position, creating an industry and applications better than many of us can imagine. 

“The bottom line is, if we want the amazing advances in AI that are going to happen in the next couple decades to benefit all of humanity, then we need a wide swath of humanity to participate in creating the next generation of AI, and infusing it with their values and intuitions. It is very important to work together to create a rational basis for AI and robots to be considered citizens of a democracy, with all the rights and responsibilities that come along with it,” Dr. Ben Goertzel, SingularityNET CEO, said at this event.

As with blockchain, their government is focused on setting up regulations in advance to position Malta to reap the many expected economic benefits of artificial intelligence.

“We want Malta to become a powerhouse of economic innovation. In the case of artificial Intelligence, we believe that this holds a lot of opportunities that will benefit the entire country,” Schembri said at the event.

According to Schembri, priorities for the Maltese government include defining AI, building policy rooted in ethics and social responsibility and making Malta a hub for foreign AI investors. 

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