Silicon Island Rising: A Tiny Mediterranean Nation Wants To Be The Next Big AI Hub — The Startup Density Is Already 50% Higher Than America's


Malta, a small Mediterranean island, is positioning itself as a significant player in the AI industry.

What Happened: The island nation, known for attracting wealthy tourists, is leveraging artificial intelligence to automate tasks, enhance education, and address traffic congestion. Malta aims to become an AI hub by 2030, with 56 AI startups already operating within its borders, according to Business Insider on Monday.

Malta’s population is just over 500,000, making its ratio of AI startups to residents notably higher than that of the United States. According to startup tracker Tracxn Technologies, Malta has approximately one AI startup for every 9,500 people, compared to the U.S.’s one for every 14,000 residents.

The country has long been a destination for affluent tourists, partly due to its “golden passport” program, which grants citizenship to wealthy foreigners who invest in Malta. The nation began investing in AI before the recent surge in AI interest, driven by technologies like ChatGPT.

In 2019, Malta set out a vision to become the “Ultimate AI Launchpad” by 2030, aiming to be a place where companies can develop, test, and scale AI innovations. Although efforts slowed due to the pandemic and political changes, Malta is now working on a new AI strategy under the EU’s AI Act, which includes ethical frameworks and initiatives to combat job displacement.

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“Foresight in recognizing the importance of AI has given Malta a head start in the field of AI, and it continues to be a leader in the industry today,” Alexiei Dingli, a professor of AI at the University of Malta, told Bloomberg.

Why It Matters: Malta’s ambition to become an AI hub comes amid a global race for AI dominance. Recently, partnered with AI startup Hugging Face to enhance AI model efficiency, showcasing the increasing importance of AI in various sectors.

Additionally, a French AI startup founded by former Google and Meta researchers is challenging Silicon Valley’s dominance, reflecting the competitive landscape in the AI field.

Moreover, AI startup Scale recently secured $1 billion from investors including AMD, Amazon, and Meta, doubling its valuation to $13.8 billion. This highlights the significant financial backing AI startups are receiving globally.

In China, Alibaba is supporting AI startups with cloud credits, aiming to lead in the global AI race. This underscores the international competition Malta faces as it strives to become a leading AI hub.

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Image Via Shutterstock

This story was generated using Benzinga Neuro and edited by Kaustubh Bagalkote

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