The Data Lab spearheads AI strategy to unlock £13bn economic boost

The Data Lab chief executive Gillian Docherty. Picture: Contributed
The Data Lab chief executive Gillian Docherty. Picture: Contributed
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The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence (AI), has landed a Scottish Government appointment to lead the creation of a national strategy aimed at boosting the economy and improving the well-being of citizens.

The centre has been tasked with co-ordinating a plan, in line with the Government’s National Performance Framework, that uses AI to unlock potential social and economic benefits, including up to £13 billion in additional output.

Acting as an impartial ­convenor, The Data Lab will oversee an “open and transparent” development process, leading up to the strategy’s official launch in September next year.

It will consider AI’s potential to improve the lives of people across Scotland and aims to ensure that AI is “relatable to everyone”.

Gillian Docherty, chief ­executive of The Data Lab, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Scottish Government placing a real focus on the transformational impact AI can have on our society, both socially and economically.

“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 AI, 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.” ­Digital economy minister Kate Forbes will chair a 15-strong steering committee featuring representatives from bodies including the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, ScotlandIS, the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Creative Scotland.

One of the committee’s first tasks will be to develop a ­scoping document, which is due to be released for open consultation in early 2020.

It will then create six working groups, each with a focus on a set theme such as ­public services, ethics and government and education and engagement. Open invitations to join these groups will be announced at the beginning of next year.

Forbes added: “Scotland is well-placed to harness the potential of AI 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.”