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Malta mulling robot citizenship

Staff Writer |
Malta is considering granting citizenship to robots, Digital Economy and Innovation Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri said on Thursday.


Speaking at a press conference launching Malta's national AI (Artificial Intelligence) strategy, Schembri said that after having enacted a holistic framework regulating distributed ledger technologies, Malta was now looking to do the same with AI.

Malta will launch its National AI strategy in 2019. Schembri unveiled a new vision for Artificial Intelligence.

"We aim to be among the ten countries in the world with a national AI strategy," he said.

"We still need to see how it will work," head of the AI task force Wayne Grixti added.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, which was the first country in the world to grant citizenship to a robot, granting citizenship for robots in Malta will also grant them access to the European Union, Grixti said.

Sophia, a social humanoid robot which was activated in 2016, was present at the conference. Developed by SingularityNET, Sophia was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia in October 2017.

The Maltese authorities will explore a pilot project to create a citizenship test for AI Robots with SingularityNET.

The Maltese government's objective was to understand how AI could be applied to provide better services to citizens, with other possible applications being intelligent traffic management on the island's congested roads.

Schembri said that the government wanted to create a centre of research, development and application of AI.

"We want to adopt a holistic approach that will become a sustainable engine for growth," Schembri added.


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