Scottish Government unveils plan to put country at the forefront of AI development
The Scottish Government has teamed up with innovation centre The Data Lab to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy for Scotland.
Overseen by the government’s chief data officer Albert King, the strategy sets out the ambition to make Scotland “a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and reliable AI”, with all children expected to be given relevant data and digital learning opportunities within the education system.
As part of the plan the government will create a Scottish AI Alliance to “provide the collective leadership required to mobilise the people and organisations in Scotland’s AI ecosystem and beyond to realise our vision for AI”.
It also plans to “build a globally recognised AI powerhouse that will be a place to collaborate, innovate and supports the successful development and adoption of AI”.
Last year First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to expand the use of data and AI in government policymaking, noting that decisions relating to the health sector in particular would increasingly be driven by data.
"Many decisions taken during the Covid crisis have been data-driven," she told an audience at an event run by The Data Lab in December.
“It will continue to inform our decisions as we tackle some of the most challenging issues of our day – including ensuring a fair recovery from the pandemic and a just transition towards achieving our net zero ambitions."
In its AI strategy paper, the government says that it has "ambitions to use AI for positive effect across all society”.
“The public sector is adopting AI to create better economic, social and environmental policy and interventions, and to provide more intelligent and targeted responses," it says.
“While Scotland can look to the future with confidence, we recognise that AI brings with it serious challenges.
“For AI to be truly inclusive and benefit everyone, we need to secure people’s trust in the technology and be clear on its role in our society.
“We need to address the real risks and concerns of bias arising from inadequate data or design or a lack of transparency of decision-making.
“This is an opportunity for Scotland to lead the world in ethical AI, building on work already happening.”
It adds: “As we come to terms with the socio-economic issues brought about by Covid-19 and the adoption of AI in our lives becomes more prevalent, our strategy is designed to make it a force for good and a catalyst for positive change.”
The government expects the alliance to be created within the next 100 days and then it will move forward with creating the Scottish Playbook for AI.