Malta was one of the first nations to establish a national AI Strategy
Getting artificial intelligence (AI) systems to work for people, the environment and ecosystems is a fine act to balance, which is why AI is sometimes referred to as a ’Pandora’s Box‘that may unleash unexpected and undesirable events. At the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), however, we believe that AI technologies could also create positive change and prosperity for society – provided they are designed, developed and used responsibly.
Why ‘AI cornucopia’? AI technologies have the potential to generate a world of abundance and prosperity, much like the mythical ‘horn of plenty’ or ‘cornucopia’. Success hinges on being ready to embrace the opportunities presented by AI while maintaining a responsible approach to its development. Proponents of this notion believe that AI technologies can improve efficiency, productivity and innovation across numerous sectors, from healthcare to transportation, while also addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change and energy efficiency.
We are aware of the concerns regarding the risks linked with the unrestrained growth of AI and the requirement for regulation and monitoring to mitigate these dangers. Nonetheless, we remain focused on developing an effective and supportive regulatory framework in liaison with the EU and other international partners because we understand that AI is bigger than 250 square kilometres and shared issues are best tackled through shared solutions. Malta has been at the forefront of AI policy making and we are participating in active discussions on new EU-wide legislation – the EU AI Act. The purpose of the proposed law is to improve the functioning of the market by laying down a uniform legal framework for the development, marketing and use of AI in conformity with our values.
By adopting a risk-based approach, various regulatory requirements for AI systems are being differentiated according to the possible threats posed by those systems to health and safety, fundamental rights and other public interests. The plan in place also contains standards for openness and accountability, such as providing users with easy-to-understand information regarding the operation and limits of AI systems and mandating human oversight for specific high-risk applications of AI technology.
The proposed legislation is presently being reviewed by both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and discussions regarding the matter are still taking place. The European Parliament recently adopted its stance on the proposal, suggesting revisions to improve protections for fundamental rights and to widen its scope to embrace additional uses of AI.
The Artificial Intelligence Act is expected to be confirmed by the European Union (EU) by the end of 2023. Following its finalisation, the Act will need to be accepted by both the European Parliament and the Council before it can become law. Malta, by way of the MDIA, has played a highly active part in talks on the matter. The existing legal framework on a national level is not yet neutral towards technological advancement and does not cater for legislative initiatives being considered at the EU level. However, in the upcoming weeks, a new legislative framework will be proposed to extend the Authority’s remit to encompass additional domains, including AI.
Source: Kenneth Brincat, Malta Digital Innovation Authority CEO (2023, April 25). AI cornucopia Times Malta.https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/ai-a2.1027657