Event promotes social dialogue on the importance of the digital transition, the opportunities it brings to the workplace, but also the impact it may have on workers
The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, together with Malta Business Bureau and in association with General Workers Union, organised an event titled ‘The Ripple Effect of AI’, as part of the TransFormWork project. The event aimed at discussing the impact of artificial intelligence at the workplace and learn more about the recent EU legislative initiatives in the field of AI.
In his opening speech, The Malta Chamber Deputy President, Chris Vassallo Cesareo noted that The Malta Chamber has in recent years been very vocal about the need for the local business community to digitalise its operations. “In fact, in March 2019, a public-private partnership between the Government and The Malta Chamber – Tech.mt – was launched to help Maltese technological companies grow in areas such as AI and Big Data,” he said.
“Digitalisation and AI have a role to play in many sectors, and indeed, in its recommendations for the Next Legislature (Time to Step Up). In this publication The Malta Chamber stresses that technology and AI are different from each other. Technological investment in digitalisation, including enforcement agencies and the law courts should rank as one of the top priorities of Government in this legislature. This was re-emphasised in our recommendations for the 2023 National Budget, wherein we proposed that local businesses should be incentivised – through reductions in enrolment fees or tax incentives – to invest in their employees to undergo specialised IT related courses,” continued the Deputy President.
Vassallo Cesareo concluded that, nevertheless, The Malta Chamber strongly believes that any digitalisation and AI should still be human focused and led. Social dialogue continues to be vital for a strong democracy and good industrial relations.
Several industry experts also shared their insights on the subject of AI and digitalisation. Prof Joshua Ellul, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Faculty of Information & Communication Technology at the University of Malta delivered a presentation on the misconceptions of AI and how it can positively enhance the workplace. Jo-Etienne Abela, Minister for the Elderly & Active Ageing and Consultant of Surgery, gave a video message on the influence of AI within the medical field. Dr James Scicluna, Partner at WH Partners, spoke about EU initiatives on AI, more specifically, the Artificial Intelligence Act, Liability Directive and implications at the workplace.
A panel discussion, moderated by MBB CEO, Joe Tanti, followed and was made up of the following speakers:
• Dr Daniela Grech, Head – Projects & EU Funds, The Malta Chamber
• Josef Bugeja, Secretary-General, GWU
• Stefan Farrugia, CEO, Eunoia
• Dr Angelo Dalli, Entrepreneur, Investor, AI & Technology Expert
• Brigitte Tanti, EEN Coordinator, Malta Enterprise
Dr Daniela Grech said that “The Malta Chamber believes that access to digital-centric schemes, which aim to help business to upgrade and improve their digital infrastructure should be broadened and that Government and business should join forces to develop and implement digitalisation, innovation and technology-driven transformation pathways tailored to different sectors, supported by fiscal incentives.”
“Local business must embark on more agile uptake of automation to address inefficiencies and maximise on costs, and that if that is done well such investments can stimulate economic activity and ultimately increase employment in general,” she continued.