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by Sofia Villegas
01 November 2023
Richard Lochhead ‘deeply disappointed’ after Scottish Government is left out of AI summit

Richard Lochhead has been Scotland's innovation minister since March this year | Alamy

Richard Lochhead ‘deeply disappointed’ after Scottish Government is left out of AI summit

Scottish innovation minister Richard Lochhead is “deeply disappointed” that the Scottish Government is not amongst those attending the AI summit.

Devolved nations will not take part in the event hosted at Bletchley Park.

Lochhead called out the UK Government for the snub in a letter to technology secretary Michelle Donelan.

He said: “Scotland is a leader in several AI areas, and I believe could have made a valuable direct contribution to this global conversation.

“Our National AI Strategy pre-dates that of the UK, and the Scottish AI Alliance’s Leadership Group is currently carrying out an independent review to ensure that we remain at the forefront of AI policy and technology development.”

In the letter, Lochhead also explained that although AI regulation remains a reserved matter, decisions would impact “devolved policy areas”.

Scotland’s AI strategy was launched in 2021 focusing on the ethical and inclusive use of the technology so the country could become an "AI powerhouse".

The announcement comes after recent news that Scottish universities were to receive a share of a £118m fund to enhance AI skills across the UK. Also, earlier this month, the University of Edinburgh was revealed as the host of a new state-of-the-art computing system to work on challenges including AI. 

The list of attendees to the summit features representatives from all over the world such as the US and the EU – represented by its commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.

China is also amongst those in attendance, despite recent criticism from Tory party members, including former prime minister Liz Truss, who said she was “deeply disturbed” by the decision to invite the Asian country.

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