Why is Artificial Intelligence Important and What is its Relevance to Malta?

We’ve all seen Will Smith’s I, Robot – the very thought of owning a machine to do your work for you is not entirely new to us 21st Century buffs, we’ve got dishwashers to wash up after us and smartphones to organise our daily lives down to a T – but what happens when our devices start to learn from their experiences? What happens when the robots we allow into our lives begin to adjust to the new inputs we feed them; altering their performance and behaviour to human-like tasks? There’s a whole new level of intelligence here and it’s all due to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence makes use of technologies that train computers to accomplish specific goals set by the user, this is generally done by processing large amounts of data, recognising its coding and transforming it into routine tasks.

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ became known to the public in 1956, but this ingenious coined word only made it big in our everyday language in the 21st Century. This was mainly due to the mass of data, the improved algorithms that have reached advanced standards as well as the new technologies in power and storage capacities.

The early work of the 1950s, 60s and 70s respectively explored problem solving and symbolic methods, trained computers to mimic the basics in human reasoning and even completed street mapping projects but it wasn’t until 2003 that intelligent personal assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana entered our lives to help facilitate daily tasks. Such processes even developed decision making systems and smart search systems used to work in connection with human abilities.

This is where industries such as healthcare, retail, education and of course entertainment flourish and deliver top-notch products and services alike. These high-volume, computerized tasks are performed accurately and without fatigue so there is less margin for error involved in the daily running of these tasks.

Artificial Intelligence in Malta

Although human intervention is still needed, the urgency and routine work is generally done by this AI technology. The high level of importance for such Artificial Intelligence was noted on Malta’s shores too, with an entire body created to serve the niche on the island. Malta AI was formed after the great success of the government’s blockchain summit – the organisation is committed to explore the economic sectors that can benefit Malta through the complex technology of Artificial Intelligence.

Adding Artificial Intelligence to Malta’s economic market identifies a new sector for the country’s youth to explore and thrive in. The aim here is to create a National AI Strategy taking Malta to the top of the ranks, up with the 10 nations holding a national strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The strategy is aimed at developing ethical and socially responsible system to help strengthen the investors’ market. Blockchain expert, Silvio Schembri, commented in a Times of Malta interview that; “Our ambition is to create the conditions for AI to a springboard from Malta to the world”, comparing Artificial Intelligence to Blockchain technology in the sense of it becoming a hub on the islands aimed to serve the world and direct it in the right direction.

Should Malta be able to integrate Artificial Intelligence into its framework, a multitude of improvements will be seen in the way everyday matters are run, controlled and stored. Although this may take some time to get used to, the results could be absolutely magnificent. AI paired with Blockchain, the thriving real estate market, the surge of iGaming and the unfathomable entertainment benefits on the islands could see Malta soaring to the top of the business world.