Artificial intelligence strategy: trustworthy, ethical and inclusive

Our artificial intelligence (AI) strategy sets out a vision for AI in Scotland, the principles that will guide us, and the actions we’ll take to develop and strengthen our AI ecosystem over the next five years.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) can transform the lives of people in Scotland for the better

AI is an important part of our lives. Many of the products and services we take for granted today rely on AI - where would we be without the smartphone? It's also the catalyst for emerging technologies such as self-driving cars. More than that, AI is helping to keep us safe online[1], save lives in healthcare[2] and improve our public services[3].

This is a global phenomenon. A recent report showed that 44% of companies worldwide have already deployed AI, or are about to – that's up from 25% only two years ago[4].

So, where does Scotland stand on AI? There's no doubt it can have a positive impact on society, however, we must be clear about the kind of AI we want to see in our country. We must acknowledge the risks if we don't do this well, take action to address them and build the foundation for public trust[5] – this is essential if we are to realise AI's potential benefits.

Our AI Strategy sets out a vision for AI in Scotland and the principles that will guide us, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's AI Principles, and UNICEF's Policy Guidance on AI for Children. Also, it identifies the actions we'll take to develop and strengthen our AI ecosystem over the next five years.

This is no standing start. We are building on strong foundations: a long history of academic excellence in AI development, a successful and well-connected AI community and a desire to adopt AI more fully across Scotland.

Scotland's AI Strategy places people at its heart and will play a key role in delivering our National Outcomes[6]. It complements work to implement our Digital Strategy and the recommendations of the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review and related initiatives.

I hope our Strategy inspires you to work with us to unlock the potential for AI in Scotland.

Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Chair, Scotland's AI Strategy Steering Committee

The Data Lab, Scotland's Innovation Centre for Data Science and AI[7], has supported the Scottish Government to develop the AI Strategy. It is the result of an extensive consultation and engagement programme involving people and organisations from across Scotland. This inclusive, collaborative approach, with input from our people, our businesses, our public sector and our academics, helped to shape and set out a vision that will work for all of us.

I am delighted to be appointed the first Chair of the Scottish AI Alliance and to play my part in the delivery of our Strategy. I have a passion for innovation and how emerging technologies can make our lives better. We know that AI can contribute to our economic, social and environmental outcomes, helping to drive business growth and improve people's wellbeing. However, we can only do this by working together and providing opportunities for everyone in Scotland to engage, learn and contribute.

The publication of the Strategy gives us clear direction and I look forward to working with you all to help Scotland thrive through the use of AI.

Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab
Chair of the Scottish AI Alliance



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