News

Unlocking the potential of artificial intelligence

Published: 22 Mar 2021 09:30

Strategy addresses specific challenges for the economy, society and children.

Measures to help Scotland become a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are outlined in a new report.

No longer the preserve of science fiction, AI already powers everyday devices such as smartphones and many more advances – such as self-driving cars – are expected in the near future.

Scotland’s new AI Strategy focuses on ensuring such technology is used for positive effect across the economy and society and it highlights the opportunity to become a world leader in ethical AI.

The report recognises societal challenges around trust and inclusion and also makes clear that AI policies and systems should benefit and protect children.

The strategy is the result of extensive consultation and includes commitments to:

  • influence global AI standards and regulations
  • expand international collaboration on AI and children
  • provide opportunities for people to get hands-on experience of AI
  • ensure everyone has access to AI learning opportunities
  • support upskilling and reskilling of displaced workers and people vulnerable to exclusion
  • formally establish the Scottish AI Alliance to drive the successful implementation of the strategy

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Artificial intelligence offers huge economic and social potential and with Scotland’s long history of academic excellence in its development we are building on strong foundations.

“But ensuring everyone benefits from the data-driven revolution is about more than technological capability. If AI is to be truly inclusive and have a positive impact on all of us – regardless of age or background – we need to be clear on its role in our society and ensure trust is the ultimate marker of success.

“This strategy sets out that vision, the principles that will guide us and the actions we will take to further strengthen our AI ecosystem. By achieving this, AI will play its part in making Scotland fairer, greener, more prosperous and more successful in the global marketplace.”

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab innovation centre, has been appointed inaugural Chair of the Scottish AI Alliance.

She said:

“It is a privilege to chair the Scottish AI Alliance and play my part in the delivery of the strategy, ensuring voices from across the country are heard.

“Through the collective leadership of the Alliance, we hope to tap into Scotland’s AI eco-system to encourage collaboration and innovation across sectors, to ultimately contribute to our economic, social and environmental outcomes.

“Our ‘Team Scotland’ approach puts people at the heart of driving the strategy, providing learning opportunities and creating strong connections that position our country as a global leader in AI development.”

Background

Read Scotland’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy: Trustworthy, Ethical and Inclusive

The AI strategy will contribute to the successful delivery of Scotland’s updated digital strategy which was published earlier this month.

AI refers to technologies used to allow computers to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition and language translation.

The Data Lab, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for Data Science and AI, supported the development of the AI Strategy on behalf of the Scottish Government. This included a consultation, engagement programme and working groups, and involved hearing from and working with people and organisations across Scotland and beyond. More information is available on the Scotland AI Strategy website.