Scotland’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy

The RSE has responded to the Scottish Government and The Data Lab’s consultation on the development of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy for Scotland.

This builds upon joint work that the RSE has undertaken with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), ScotlandIS and BT Scotland where we recommended that Scotland should have a national strategy for AI. We were therefore delighted when Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, launched the Scottish Government’s plans for Scotland’s AI strategy at the RSE in September 2019.

Given that national strategies for AI often include similar aims and ambitions, it will be important that Scotland’s strategy is clear on where Scotland can derive first mover advantage in AI. The development of a fair work strategy for new technologies, the application of AI in healthcare given Scotland’s strengths and assets in this area, and putting in place a highly participatory process that enables citizens to engage critically with AI are areas in which Scotland can take an active lead.

Citizens should not be encouraged to trust AI uncritically; rather, they need to have sufficient awareness and understanding to enable them to adopt a sceptical user stance. It is crucial therefore that the development of Scotland’s AI Strategy is a highly participatory process.

Our response is available here.

Our policy work complements our public engagement activities on AI, including our online RSE After Hours series, where we have been discussing the impact of AI on society. So far, conversations have been held with Professor Shannon Vallor, the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh; and Dr Chris van der Kuyl FRSE, Co-Founder of 4J Studios, one of the UK’s most successful videogames developers.

The discussion videos are available here.