Malta could explore citizenship tests for robots as part of its plan to develop a global hub for Artificial Intelligence technologies.
Sitting side by side with Sophia, the world’s first humanoid citizen, parliamentary secretary for the digital economy Silvio Schembri this afternoon announced that such a pilot project will be looked into by a newly-appointed taskforce which has been appointed to propose a strategy on the regulation of AI.
The taskforce will be chaired by Wayne Grixti, an enterprise architect from the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, a new authority that has been entrusted with the regulation of the blockchain industry and that will eventually also be entrusted with the regulation of AI technology.
The taskforce will also include AI lecturers and researchers Dylan Seychell and Prof. Alexiei Dingli, as well as MITA’s head of strategy Emanuel Darmanin, tech lawyer Jackie Mallia, and digital economy secretariat official Francois Piccione.
It will consult experts in the field of AI, including the creators of Sophia – David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, and Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist of Hanson Robotics and the founder of AI marketplace SingularityNET.
Today’s announcement is Malta’s first major statement of intent as it seeks to position itself as a global player in the AI sector. Earlier today, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he wants Malta to become a centre for existential discussions about the future of AI.
“It is because we are human that we ask certain questions,” he said. “Sophia will address the summit this afternoon, but will there be a time when people will be invited to speak at a conference organised by robots? Will we one day build machines which will lead to our own extinction? I believe we are more intelligent than that. I want Malta to become a hub for AI innovation and for the regulation of new, intelligent technologies.”