I hope to be a bridge between Malta and France in order to bring innovation, leadership and prosperity to the forefront of the European tech scene, says serial entrepreneur and award winning fintech expert Abdalla Kablan. 

 

With blockchain and AI getting on the main stage, would you say that we are now at a crossroads?

I wouldn’t say that we are at a crossroads, but I would rather think of it as a convergence of both disciplines. Generically speaking blockchain and artificial intelligence are contradicting in nature and they work on completely different paradigms but merging both of them will turn out to be quite promising. 

AI helps in analysing and understanding large amounts of data – however this does not mean that there will not be any form of data misuse, breaches or hacking. The blockchain, by definition is not able to analyse data or recognise patterns – but it can protect data related to an AI system as it provides decentralised database. This means enhanced security, auditability and transparent operations.

What decisions have to be made so that such technologies are developed in an ethical manner? 

I personally believe that coming up with the right regulatory frameworks where relevant, and the appropriate strategies and policy measures is quite important to safeguard the interests of consumers, investors, and to ensure the integrity of the products that are being developed.

Blockchain, AI and IoT are usually regarded separately – but can convergences be made, and to what benefits?

The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), has created promising new opportunities – but also created a number of challenges. We are creating new complex networks or interconnected devices that can share infinite amounts of information. In conjunction with appropriate AI architectures and optimised machine “learning” models, this will help in the creation of products that will make our lives better, more efficient, and more convenient. But if it’s not well planned it may also eventually lead to an accurate imitation of the human brain. Hence having the right measures in place from a regulatory, and ethical standpoints is quite crucial.

Despite advancements in AI, will humanity still hold the reins to creativity?

The human brain is probably the most sophisticated system in existence, but human psychology is quite complex. Despite being fully cognisant about our unpredictability, we are adept at taking strategic shortcuts at appropriate times, which makes it abundantly clear that it is our ecological smartness and creativity that has got us to where we are now. 

AI, like other forms of modern technology, can go on to become incredibly beneficial for us. Whether or not that happens is in the realm of conjectures, given the inevitable human tendency to misuse just about anything that makes our lives easier.

As responsible developers of technology, we may want to ensure that our comfort-driven instincts do not take precedence over our larger commitment to inclusive economic growth, more compassionate societies and a better world at large.

Being small allows us to be agile and nimble

France is the world’s sixth largest economy, while Malta is the EU’s smallest member state. But within the AI and blockchain contexts, does size really matter?

Size does not really matter in the digital world – however we have to acknowledge the weight and diverse competencies of all jurisdictions. When it comes to blockchain and digital innovation, Malta has been the trailblazer from the very start. The Maltese government has taken the brave and right decision to regulate technology arrange­ments such as DLT and services around them way before many other countries even looked at them. The world is now realising that Malta was right, as we have paved the way for companies to seek regulatory certainty while keeping on innovating, and we have also allowed consumers to have assurance in the products that they are using. 

However we are part of a much bigger union, the European Union, and other member states such as France have an undeniable wealth of experience and a long history of proven innovation coupled with infrastructure that supports it. 

Being small allows us to be agile and nimble, and it also allows us to have a first-hand account of the state of affairs when it comes to technical challenges of regulatory implementation. Hence, as professionals, when we are asked to share our experience and knowledge with other member states we have always welcomed the opportunity and never shied away from pushing our initiatives on a European level.

How can France and Malta collaborate in AI and blockchain?

Recently I had the honour of being invited by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in the French Government’s Future Leaders Program. A program that is well designed to expose selected professionals from all around the world to elements of the French industry that are relevant to their fields. In that experience I have met with some of the top French thought leaders, policy makes, academics, professionals, and regulators relevant to AI and blockchain. 

I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to know that there is so much in common between the Maltese initiatives on the AI strategy front and on the blockchain and Virtual Assets regulations. I have also learnt quite a lot from the French model of doing things. It was evident that there is immense potential for collaboration, and I hope to be a bridge between both countries in order to bring innovation, leadership and prosperity to the forefront of the European tech scene.   

Selected professionals from all around the world to elements of the french industry that are relevant to their fields. In that experience I have met with some of the top french thought leaders, policy makes, academics, professionals, and regulators relevant to AI and blockchain. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to know that there is so much in common between the Maltese initiatives on the AI strategy front and on the blockchain and Virtual Assets regulations, I have also learnt quite a lot from the french model of doing things. It was evident that there is immense potential for collaboration, and I hope to be a bridge between both countries in order to bring innovation, leadership and prosperity to the forefront of the european tech scene.

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