Robot’s rights may need to be reg­u­lated, says PM Joseph Mus­cat

Malta Independent - - Front Page -

In the fu­ture, ma­chines might not only be able to learn but also to de­fine them­selves, and for this rea­son, Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat be­lieves that we could soon be dis­cussing the rights of ro­bots.

Speaking at the Malta In­no­va­tion Sum­mit, Mus­cat dou­bled down on his speech in front of the Gen­eral Assem­bly of the United Na­tions where he said that af­ter be­com­ing the ‘Blockchain Is­land’, A.I. would be next for Malta. This tied into his em­pha­sis on the im­por­tance of Malta to con­tinue be­ing in­no­va­tive.

“Once we’ve achieved our blockchain goal, we’re now set­ting our aim towards AI. We’re get­ting into the dis­cus­sion about the fu­ture of work, mean­ing what type of pro­duc­tiv­ity will the world be en­gaged in over the next few decades.”

The Prime Min­is­ter also de­scribed Mal­tese cul­ture as be­ing in­no­va­tive in and of it­self, ex­plain­ing how Malta had trans­formed it­self from a fortress econ­omy, to a tourism and man­u­fac­tur­ing econ­omy, and presently to a fo­cus on iGam­ing,

com­pany was never in­tended for Joseph Mus­cat.” Based on that, Az­zopardi said, he could not ex­clude that the com­pany did not be­long to the Prime Min­is­ter.

Fur­ther­more, if Egrant was such a sore point for Mus­cat, Az­zopardi ques­tioned, then why did he re­tain Kon­rad Mizzi and Keith Schem­bri in their re­spec­tive roles af­ter they opened their own se­cret com­pa­nies. “It must be the case there­fore that Joseph Mus­cat is re­ceiv­ing some­thing from the se­cret com­pa­nies, since he keeps de­fend­ing them,” Az­zopardi said.

The PN MP said that con­trary to what the govern­ment was try­ing to spin, no­body was doubt­ing the mag­is­trate’s con­clu­sions or his in­tegrity; but the fact re­mained that the mag­is­trate could not say to whom it be­longs – “ab­sence of ev­i­dence is not ev­i­dence of ab­sence”, Az­zopardi said.

PL MP Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis, who was the other guest on In­depth in its new de­bate for­mat, on his part said that Az­zopardi and the PN were in a state of “to­tal con­fu­sion”.

He said that in­stead of com­ing onto the pro­gramme to dis­cuss a bet­ter fu­ture for the coun­try, he has in­stead ended up try­ing to be Sher­lock Holmes, ex­cept that while Sher­lock Holmes solved cases, “Ja­son Az­zopardi asks more ques­tions than he finds so­lu­tions”.

Zam­mit Lewis quoted a pas­sage from the con­clu­sions of the Egrant in­quiry, which re­mains the only seg­ment of the in­quiry avail­able to the pub­lic, say­ing how Harbin­son Foren­sics wrote that they “have not seen any doc­u­ments re­veal­ing that the Ul­ti­mate Ben­e­fi­ciary Owner of Egrant was any­one other than Brian Tonna”.

Ad­dress­ing Az­zopardi, he said that not­with­stand­ing this pas­sage in the con­clu­sions, him and the PN still in­sist on say­ing that they do not know to whom Egrant be­longs. “It is clear whom it be­longs to, so why are you con­tin­u­ing to prop­a­gate this nar­ra­tive,” the PL MP asked.

Joseph Mus­cat ear­lier this week said that Si­mon Busut­til and those who be­lieve that Egrant be­longs to the Prime Min­is­ter are liv­ing in a “par­al­lel uni­verse”. Asked whether, con­sid­er­ing that the PN had lost an elec­tion by a his­tor­i­cal mar­gin in 2017, the PM’s claims ring true, Az­zopardi said that an elec­toral vic­tory did not change what was wrong and what was right.

In­deed, Az­zopardi claimed, there has to be some­thing in it for Mus­cat since he kept Keith Schem­bri and Kon­rad Mizzi by his side. The PN MP said that all peo­ple had to do was re­mem­ber how Mus­cat had re­moved Anglu Far­ru­gia for a cou­ple of words di­rected at a mag­is­trate.

“How much Joseph Mus­cat’s stan­dards have changed,” Az­zopardi said.

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