The first details of Malta’s Artificial Intelligence policy were announced on Thursday at a workshop organised by the MALTA.ai taskforce.

Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and the Digital Economy, said that Malta aspires to become a jurisdiction in which local and foreign companies and entrepreneurs can develop, prototype, test and scale AI, and ultimately showcase the value from their innovations.

"Our ambition is to create the conditions for AI to a springboard from Malta to the world”, he said.

He said that the.AI Taskforce identified three strategic pillars: Investment, Start-ups and Innovation; Public Sector Adoption and Private Sector Adoption.

There were also three enablers: Education and Workforce, a Legal and Ethical Framework, and Ecosystem Infrastructure.

The main objectives of the Investment, Start-ups and Innovation segment are to make Malta a centre of excellence and a technological hub in the field of AI by attracting leading AI companies to set up operation in Malta, stimulate local start-up activity and raise awareness and visibility of the Malta AI sector.

The main goal for the Public Sector Adoption is for the government to take a lead in showcasing the benefits that can be brought about by AI by using the technology to provide better services to citizens/businesses, improving the economic and social wellbeing of Malta and enhancing the internal operations of the Public Service Sector.

“Our aim is to create an AI-powered government and to do so will assess a number of use cases for public sector applications. These AI use cases will be clearly defined and then assessed against criteria that will consider operational, economic, financial, legal and regulatory aspects, with a view of identifying the projects that can generate the biggest local impact," Mr Schembri explained. 

"These projects will be gradually implemented as pilot projects with a view of later rolling them out across the nation”.

He added that this pillar will ensure capacity and capability building and knowledge transfer within the public sector, address training needs, help drive a cultural shift, change management and will also seek to encourage the procurement of smart technology-based solutions with the Public Service.

On Private Sector Adoption, he said that the aim is to encourage SMEs to embrace and adopt AI, help local businesses to use AI and build trust in how AI works in terms of transparency and accountability. 

The policy document will be open for public consultation until April 22. It can be accessed at:

https://malta.ai/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Towards-an-AI-Strategy.pdf

 

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