Speaking at the Blockchain and Economy conference, the Hon. Silvio Schembri gave a keynote detailing how the government will continue to integrate blockchain and AI into its plan of action
Speaking at the Blockchain and Economy conference during the AIBC summit, the Hon. Silvio Schembri, Minister for Economy in Malta, gave a keynote detailing how the government will continue to integrate blockchain and AI into its plan of action.
The minister started his speech by looking back over the past 2 years, saying that this was the first time in a while that such events had been able to take place in Malta – however despite this the country in the meantime had continued to be proactive in the tech sphere. The pandemic has also highlighted the need of technologies to be more transparent, dependable, accountable, and most of all efficient, he said.
“Emerging technology such as blockchain and AI have proven to be very beneficial when applied in the best possible way. It is also encouraging to witness how they are directly contributing to that desirable increase in efficiency, accountability and transparency.
“Over the past few years we have created the first regulated framework in the world which audits and certifies technologies. Over the coming weeks the MDIA will also be launching a consultation on the tech assurance assessment framework, this is aimed at establishing concrete control objectives against which systems auditors review the matters at hand. We are taking a holistic approach when it comes to tech assurance, whilst ensuring that it is future proof despite the continually evolving technology landscape.”
The minister also mentioned that to assist startups and SMEs in building and nurturing security, safe and dependable digital solutions and services, the MDIA is launching a 2 year residency plan throughout which the solution is assessed and evaluated.
“As a government we are here leading by example, the national public service strategy, launched just a few days ago highlights the importance and need to use smart contracts as a means to achieve transparency and fairness. This is an important milestone, since it shows the growth in awareness with regards to the benefits of emerging technologies.”
Last week the ministry also announced that three government entities, ranging from commerce, agriculture and planning will be adopting blockchain-based systems as part of their modus operandi.
First off the industrial property registration directorate – which will digitise the official documents of registered industrial property rights, amongst which trademarks and patents and record them in digital ledger. Secondly blockchain is being considered by the government in the verification and attestation of the origin of local produce – by scanning a code, consumers will be provided with proof, immutable certification and assurance that product was genuinely made and manufactured locally. The third proposal – spearheaded by the Planning Authority – which is already equipped with an internal permissioned blockchain-based system, serves as a verification clearing house for decision documents by providing proof of veracity. To further enhance the authenticity authority will incorporate an additional level of security through an anchoring service to improve trust and transparency.
AI is also very high on the agenda, and the adoption in the public sector is part of this strategy. Six pilot projects – addressing issues as diverse as education, traffic management, and customer services – show how AI can enhance society at large.
“As they say, charity begins at home and we believe the government must take the first step to promote the benefits of AI.
“If innovation is the name of the game, Malta is very keen. Not only at playing the game but winning it. We will do this by supporting adoption of innovative technologies. At the same time ensuring user protection, offering a holistic approach from the initial stages up to full development. Do not let the size of our country trick you.
“Malta has taken full advantage of its small size, and acts as an enabler of an agile and innovative reg framework. What might be perceived as lacking in resources we make up for in our vision, innovation, creativity and holistic approach.”