Albert King, the Chief Data Officer of the Scottish Government, discussed the key aspects involved in Scotland's artificial intelligence (AI) strategy in a session of Cognilytica's AI in Government speaker series. The country prioritizes data as a means to improve decision-making and enable national goals.

The Scottish government first committed to the development of an AI adoption strategy in 2019, which led to the ongoing delivery of the technologies starting in 2021. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process, King notes the positive side of the lockdown, which led to more collaboration across the entire country as Scottish officials worked virtually.

"Our approach enabled us to understand public views as well as those of experts to engage the public in a debate, and to understand, fundamentally and importantly, where leadership is required in order to shape the way we adopt AI and data driven technologies in our society," he says.

The Scottish government collaborated with cyber experts and members of the public while developing its AI strategy. It found a widespread support for the proposed AI adoption, with an emphasis on the ethical, human-centered integration of the technology. 

"Our vision is that Scotland will become a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and inclusive AI," said King. The government centered four main goals for its AI adoption:

  • Fairer: Incorporate Scottish values into their approach to AI adoption
  • Greener: Develop low carbon industry with the help of AI and learn to better utilize the country's current resources
  • More Prosperous: Build upon a foundation of public trust to create high-value jobs and catalyze innovation
  • Outward Looking: Engage with global partners to tackle shared issues

Scotland will make strategic investments in data start-ups and create spaces for cybersecurity and tech innovators to meet and develop innovations. "We also want to engage with partners beyond Scotland, people who share our values, build those partnerships, and contribute to tackling what are clearly shared challenges," said King.

To learn more about the current delivery stage of Scotland's AI adoption, click here.