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Valletta, Malta — The city of Valletta at sunset, photo by — @mparente

Malta’s AI Strategy

The strategy for Malta is named A Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta 2030. The goal is to make Malta the ultimate AI launchpad and was launched October 2019. I will try to map some of the main points of the strategy.

  • AI-related activities will generate investment.
  • Companies and government will have started to scale AI solutions.
  • Pilots showcase the benefits that can be delivered.
  • The business community will have developed foundational knowledge.
  • Malta’s workforce will be better prepared for work in an AI-driven world.
  • Laws and regulations will be up to date.
  • Malta will be a model nation that other look up to.
  • Computers will be able to process and understand Maltese text and speech.
  • Policy on high-compute performance access and cybersecurity will have been developed.
  • AI will be a driver that propels R&D activities.
  • Malta wants to be amongst the top 10 nations.
  • AI solutions will help augment public services.
  • Companies of all sizes and sectors will deploy AI solutions.
  • Maltese workers will have the skillset to thrive in an AI world.
  • Robust governance and social protection mechanisms will be in place.
  • Malta is compliant with international regulations.
  • People have better control of their personal data and able to commoditise it for their own need.

Malta’s Pathway Towards an AI Strategy

  1. In November 2018, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation appointed the Malta. AI Taskforce with the remit of advising the Government and developing a national strategy on AI. Working groups were also formed at the time.
  2. In March 2019, Malta.AI Taskforce published a high level policy document, Malta — Towards an AI Strategy. Laying out key areas of focus for the National AI Strategy.
  3. The national strategy has built on these areas to set out a number of actions that will be achieved by 2022, together with actions to support a longer-term vision of where the country would like to be in 2030.

The Main Outline

The Strategy is looking at the impact commercially and socially, areas of economic opportunity and the need for special consideration, if not regulation, where AI use cases potentially intersect with national priorities, values and citizen’s rights.

  • Public sector adoption: explores how AI can be deployed widely across the public administration to improve citizens’ experiences, expand access to public services, and directly improve well-being. Six AI pilot projects covering traffic management, education, health, customer service, tourism, and utilities will be undertaken over the coming three years.
  • Private sector adoption: details initiatives to drive awareness and enable companies of all sizes to use, develop and integrate AI applications across their organisations.
  • Ethical and legal: establishes the world’s first national AI certification programme to provide a platform to practitioners and companies that wish to showcase ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible AI solutions, building on Malta’s Ethical AI Framework Towards Trustworthy AI. It makes provision for the formation of a Technology Regulation Advisory Committee to advise on laws and regulation in respect to AI matters and the creation of regulatory and data sandboxes.
  • Ecosystem infrastructure: lays out investments in tools to enable Maltese Language AI solutions, initiatives to support data availability and actions to mitigate cybersecurity risks and facilitate cost-effective access to high-performance compute capability among other measures designed to create the underlying infrastructure to support a thriving AI ecosystem.

What Opportunities Are Outlined in the Strategy for Malta?

There is a section in the document that I found interesting.

Investments in Malta

Malta’s size makes it a viable test bed for pilot projects which can be run across an entire country. In the strategy they claim that Malta can:

Sectors Important to Malta

  • Financial services: AI-driven based solutions are being used for intelligent financial planning, investment and money management services for consumers. They are also helping financial institutions create smarter credit and risk analysis applications and streamline operational performance.
  • Gaming: AI technologies are frequently incorporated into solutions to help detect and reduce fraud, enhance marketing effectiveness, and augment customer service interactions and customer experience functions.
  • Advanced manufacturing and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul industries: AI-driven solutions are being deployed for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance activities. The solutions draw on the vast amount of data that aircraft, ships and machines now generate.
  • Tourism: AI models are being applied to big data to discover industry trends and sentiment (i.e. what tourists like and dislike) at scale, provide recommendations on places to visit and book, and enable hotels and vacation rental owners to deploy automated pricing solutions based on supply and demand.
  • Real estate: AI solutions are being used to increase the relevance of recommendations users see on websites, display personalised advertising, identify when new properties come on the market, and automatically tag and classify property photos and listings.

Written by

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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