Gozo-based international collaboration develops first ChatBot of its kind in Maltese

An international collaboration with offices at the Gozo Innovation Hub is developing a conversational chatbot in the Maltese language to be used in the banking, finance and insurance, and investments services sectors. The strategic partnership in this ground-breaking AI project will see the advanced ChatBot communicating with customers in the financial services sector, providing customer care support in Maltese. In fact, the Maltese language will be the first to be rolled-out, whilst other languages will follow. During a visit by Enterprise Minister Miriam Dalli, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri and Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia, the developers explained that the primary objective of the €3 million project was to develop an innovative conversational platform utilising cutting-edge AI and machine learning technologies while leveraging highly advanced cloud computing capabilities.

The first prototypes to be developed will primarily operate in the field of financial services, however, such an advanced chatbot can eventually be deployed in other sectors, including public service, tourism, customer services, and other e-commerce services where online channels are available. The project, titled The New Era of Chatbot, is receiving support from Malta Enterprise under the Research and Development Scheme. It represents a strategic collaboration between Cartesio Ltd and the University of Malta, in partnership with AI and cloud technology enablers Noovle International, who already have a presence in Gozo.

“This is the type of investment we want to attract to our shores as we continue pushing for a knowledge-based economy. AI has seamlessly integrated into our daily routines and is increasingly crucial across different industries. Simultaneously, Malta Enterprise supports companies in transitioning to digitalisation through research and development initiatives, prioritising sustainability, and fostering continuous innovation. Through Malta Enterprise we are proud to continue supporting companies who invest in research and innovation and use our islands as testbeds for the development of their projects," Enterprise Minister Miriam Dalli said.

Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri stated that this company which is based in Gozo goes hand in hand with the strategy launched by the government, the vision for Gozo in order to continue attracting more companies that work in research and innovation. He went on to say, today we had the opportunity to understand how this chatbot works, which with the system that has been developed will be able to understand and also respond to the consumer in Maltese. It is certain that a chatbot like this will be used in more sectors such as banking, financial and customer facing ones so that through this system, citizens receive a better service.

Valentino Benicchio, Director, Noovle International, stated, “We are keen to explore new R&D opportunities in Malta in the fields of sustainability, innovation and other smart technologies where we can leverage our capabilities and experience, which can be applied in public services or the private sector." Francesca Caruso, Director of Cartesio Ltd, stated, “We are proud to be here today, not only as a testament to the power of innovation but also as a testament to the fruitful partnership between the public and private sectors in Malta." She explained how a cornerstone for the success of this project has been the symbiotic relationship between academia and industry. “Collaborations like this provide our students and researchers to see their research results embedded in a tangible product that can be of service to society, whilst at the same time advancing our research knowledge and capacity. Our research group is continuously advancing Maltese processing tools and this project provides the right platform to showcase our work," Dr Claudia Borg, senior lecturer on AI at the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology said.​