Robots are already with us, and they will be more ubiquitous in the near future. What kind of decisions these robots will make is a matter of fierce debate. Malta is now developing a strategy to make sure that AI remains ethical, transparent and socially responsible. While many countries are aware of the risks that AI can pose, few have developed guidelines for their development.
“After successfully positioning Malta as The Blockchain Island, being the first in the world to regulate DLT Products and Services, we now look to also position Malta amongst the top 10 countries in the world with an AI Policy,” said Malta’s Junior Minister, Silvio Schembri.
Malta is working with SingularityNET, a company focussing on AI to develop the Robot Citizenship Test that will essentially spell out the guiding principles as to which robots can qualify for citizenship.
The Maltese government plans to tap the benefits of the new technology to boost sectors such as education, transport, logistics, and healthcare.
One area the robots will be applied is in simple and repetitive tasks. According to the government, this will allow employees to focus more on more complex tasks.
The benevolent robots as the government call them will build on the successes of Sophia, a humanoid social robot developed by Hanson Robotics first showcased to the public in 2016.
The AI robot can process visual data, imitate gestures and make several facial expressions. It can also engage in simple conversations. Sophia is expected to improve her skills over time and ultimately interact more naturally with human beings, its manufacturer says.
SingularityNET is a host of AI solutions in a decentralized infrastructure where one can “create, share and monetize AI services at scale,” its website says. The company says it wants to democratize access to AI services. SingularityNET will use blockchain to integrate with Sophia.
Silvio Schembri, Junior Minister in charge of Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovations says the principal objective of the initiative is to help people understand impact including risks that AI poses.
The AI strategy is being drafted by a newly constituted Malta.ai taskforce.
The initiative once again reasserts Malta’s willingness to allow new technologies to be tested in the country. Malta is one of the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions and the first country to introduce a clear regulatory framework on digital currencies and initial coin offerings.
Many cryptocurrency companies have since set up there. Malta is also a hub for the online gambling industry with the highest number of licenses issued in the EU.