The Data Lab Appointed to Lead Scottish Government AI Strategy

Scottish Government AI Strategy

The Scottish Government’s AI Strategy hopes to use artificial intelligence to boost citizen wellbeing and economic output.

The Data Lab has been selected by the Scottish Government to lead the development of a new national strategy on artificial intelligence (AI).

The strategy aims to unlock an additional £13 billion in economic output and drive the use of AI to improve citizens wellbeing across Scotland.

Development will be “open and transparent” so as to ensure that as many people as possible can contribute, The Data Lab said. Additionally, benefits to individual citizens will form a “core guiding principle” of the strategy.

A commitment by the Scottish Government to develop an AI Strategy was set out in Protecting Scotland’s Future: the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-2020, published on the 3rd September.

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As an impartial convenor, The Data Lab will oversee the development process. This will include the coordination of a recently-appointed steering committee, chaired by digital economy minister Kate Forbes, as well as a number of working groups.

Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “Scotland is well placed to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence to benefit our citizens, economy, public services and society.

“I look forward to working with The Data Lab and others to produce a strategy that sets out our ambitions, principles and priorities and helps us to use AI to the advantage of Scotland and its people.”

15 members from representative bodies across Scotland will feature on the steering committee, including SCDI, ScotlandIS, the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA), the Federation of Small Businesses (FBS) and Creative Scotland.

One of the committee’s first tasks before the strategy’s launch in September 2020 will be to develop a scoping document that will be released for open consultation in early 2020. Citizens across Scotland will also be given a chance to have their say in the process, The Data Lab said, and a “comprehensive” stakeholder engagement programme will be delivered by the Democratic Society.

Six working groups will draw upon a range of contributors from a host of diverse backgrounds. These will focus largely on set themes such as public services, ethics, government, education and engagement. Participants will work on developing recommendations for each specific theme that will feed into the final strategy.

The Data Lab said open invitations to join these groups will be announced at the beginning of next year.

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “It is an honour for The Data Lab to be tasked to lead such an important and forward-thinking Strategy for Scotland and it’s fantastic to see Scottish Government placing a real focus on the transformational impact artificial intelligence can have on our society, both socially and economically.

“As an organisation, we completely align ourselves with the Government’s vision of ensuring the future AI Strategy has Scotland’s people at its very core. Throughout the development stages, we are committed to making sure that people’s voices are heard and that their opinions, beliefs and priorities make up the fabric of the Strategy.

“The creation of such a Strategy shows once again that Scotland has the potential to become a world-leader in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence, but that importantly we don’t lose sight of what’s important to our citizens in the process. This is a very exciting time in Scotland’s history and it is vital Scotland’s people have their say in its future.”



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