Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the world is moving nearer to the demise of business models based on centralisation of data, and that while the transition to the digital economy posed particular challenges, change could not be stopped but instead had to be embraced, since it provided so many new opportunities.
Speaking at the launch of the Delta Summit, Dr Muscat said that despite “this intrinsic competitive spirit that we have as Maltese, it was clear to us from the start that we did not want to sacrifice quality in favour of expediency. Choosing between being first and being the best, we will always opt for the latter. In the case of the three pieces of legislation that form our innovative framework, we are both first and best. I humbly submit, first and best not only in Europe, as we wanted to be, but in the world, where nobody expected us to be.”
Dr Muscat said it was clear that the underlying technology that Malta was regulating had a vast quantity of uses, most of which have barely been understood, let alone harnessed and utilised. “Most of the time we realise that history has been made after events happen. We are fortunate enough to be living in an era when we are aware that change is happening and that we are part of it.”
He said that the transition to the digital economy and society questions fundamental concepts that we have been used to for generations. “One of them is the nature of work itself, its compensation, its efficiency and its regulation. Those with a dim outlook will see this quantum leap as a threat because more machines will take the place of people, and this time round machines can learn. Yes, the new digital economy requires new forms of social safety nets and a rethink of basic interactions. Nevertheless, not only can we not stop change, we have to embrace it with anticipation since it provides society with huge opportunities.”
“To do so, the state needs to be proactive in its role as sensible, business friendly, and consumer centric regulator. We intend leading the way there. That is why Artificial Intelligence and a sensible, best in class regulatory framework for it are now next on our agenda. We are sure that with AI we can replicate and improve what we are doing with blockchain.”
“We are moving nearer to the demise of business models based on centralisation of data. Blockchain will increasingly give individuals more control. In an era where the basic democratic norms are being challenged even in their cradles, we are witnessing the birth of a system that can democratise technology. The tension of citizens being caught between the two will become ever more evident, making it crucial for governments to get up to scratch with the rest of the digital economy and society.”