Expanding the concept of bitpod | PKF Malta

In the coming years, the result will be nothing short of revolutionary paradigm shifts

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One may ask: will Malta gain from the wave of popularity that is gripping the ubiquitous sector of AI and robotics. The answer is found in the impending age of smarter robotics - these will certainly have a profound impact on traditional manufacturing; for example, our health sector will soon integrate robotics into the sphere.

As a simple introduction to AI - one can say that it thrives best by combining large amounts of data sets with fast, iterative processing and intelligent algorithms. This allows the AI software to learn automatically from patterns or features in that vast data sets. Many are fascinated to read latest AI topics in the mainstream news.

It is no exaggeration that, AI has become a catch-all media term that refers to any computer program that automatically does something. Yet in this fast-moving age, people make referrals to AI without actually knowing what it really means.

There is often a public debate on whether it is an evil or a panacea for humanity. Put simply one may explain, that in Malta this technology once it is embraced by investors will spearhead novelties in the manufacturing sectors and improve competitiveness in our declining trend in the exports of goods.

With hindsight, we note how Malta started last year to toy with the novelty of the Blockchain technology - one that gave birth and support to virtual currencies.

It passed a number of laws to regulate the blockchain and its derivative services. It is all a matter of trust.

Having just about exploited the celebrity of blockchain, Muscat the prime minister, was euphoric in his New Year message, said inter alia, that we may switch our sights to try scaling the mountain of AI - a sector that in USA and China, we find tech giants which pour billions of dollars annually in research and development.

Mindful of the legal and technical minefield that lay ahead the government formed a committee of experts to help design and draft parameters leading to a consultation paper to collect views of experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

It is an open secret, that government is keen to be seen helping innovation and would like to see Malta becoming a jurisdiction that attracts talent from all over the world. Artificial intelligence and robotics are two “overnight successes” that have been decades in the making, and their intersection will soon change a multitude of industries. The evolution of smarter AI and more versatile robotics has helped both technologies to push past repetitive tasks to take on adaptive and more intelligent applications.

In the coming years, the result will be nothing short of revolutionary paradigm shifts. The impending age of smarter robotics will certainly have a profound impact on traditional manufacturing; for instance, the health sector in Malta will soon make use of robotics to allocate medicines to patients and assist in useful operations taking place in the operating theatre.

This initiative will spearhead other uses in the manufacturing sectors and create interesting scenarios in areas of productivity, safety, service, transportation, land registration and police records.

Autonomously driven cars and drones are both forms of advanced robotics, and they will pave the way for more specialised services that will speed productivity. They will impact every area of our lives.

As was the case of the internet revolution, some of the novelties will happen in a gradual, evolutionary way; some of it will happen in a sudden, revolutionary manner. Apart from the fast moving AI scene and back to DLT technologies, we can predict that if and when they become mainstream, more investment will be attracted to Malta.

One hopes that no effort is spared by the authorities to attract banks that are friendly to virtual currencies, since at present, banks in Malta do not support Bitcoin although efforts are in the pipeline to attract newcomers. It is good to note, that PKF has committed itself to making a pro bono contribution to promote Blockchain in Malta.

This culminates in developing bitpod, which in the near future will function as a quasi-lab and can involve a live project dedicated to fuelling research and development with a special accent on the emerging fusion between technology and the financial world.

One hopes that sponsors will be forthcoming to assist in its internalisation.

Commenting about DLT and PKF’s commitment to invest in this technology, the writer is of the opinion that, “Distributed ledger technology and virtual financial assets will play an important role in the experiment. The bitpod experiment, will include a technical publication showing a compilation of the findings, observations, conclusions and results. In addition to the bitpod facility, complementary BitBlock sessions have been showcasing a series of working sessions in a casual format, once again aimed at provoking thought, ideas and novel discussion with local as well as international patronage”.

PKF Malta is organising its seventh bitpod educational webinar on the strength of the previous six sessions held over the past months and which have proven to be popular especially amongst industry professionals.

The next session will be held on 4 September 2019 at 11.00hrs CET featuring Dr Vince Vella, CTO of Computime Software, BRSAnalytics and CTLabs. The title of the session will be “Transaction Monitoring and Learning to Slow Dance with Machines – Part II” and will be hosted by Dr Marilyn Formosa, Head of Legal at PKF Malta and co-founder of bitpod.

The webinar will follow up on the theme of the first session but will go deeper into specific Anti-Money Laundering (AML)-related machine learning use cases. As an introduction, Dr Vella also lectures within the Department of Artificial Intelligence at University of Malta, mainly responsible for the MSc AI – Fintech stream.

His main areas revolve primarily around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Computational Finance, particularly in the areas of AI Managed Funds, decentralized AI utilizing smart contracts and regulatory frameworks such as AML.

The bitpod webinar will be accessible either through PKF Malta’s website via this link: http://bit.ly/30yQzvw or through the firm’s Youtube channel via livestream. Dr Marilyn Formosa commented: “These webinars are an offshoot of our home-grown bitpod concept, launched earlier this year. She added that bitpod promotes Malta as a jurisdiction of choice through relationships with its international contacts active in the start-up field, some based in Silicon Valley & other international silicon/crypto valleys.

PKF received great feedback on our first six sessions as well as several suggestions on topics to cover in our future bitpod webinars. Our last session in July featured a Malta-based crypto operator where we welcomed Mr Adrian Kreter (see picture) co-founder of Instacoins, a Malta-based Bitcoin brokerage firm that is minded to apply for a license under the new VFA Act” she said.

If readers have a topic of interest they want to discuss we invite them to kindly contact Dr Marilyn Formosa on marilyn.formosa@pkfmalta.com

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