Widely hailed by academics, policy makers and experts around the world, the AI Strategy for Scotland has set the bar for policies addressing the functional and ethical issues inherent in technological development.
Indeed, during the AI strategy launch event, Professor Stefaan Verhulst of NYU’s GovLab noted that “most AI strategies are driven by the urgency to stay on top. Scotland’s strategy is equally influenced by the need to help humanity itself, and this is to be applauded. “
The Scottish Government’s digital strategy, of which the AI strategy is a central element, is also humanity-driven. It aims to create a “shared vision of a modern, digital and collaborative government, designed around people”.
This focus on people – both collectively and individually – aims to empower everyone to be part of and engage in digital society. At a general level, this means improving access through education and vocational training, as well as tackling inequalities and inequalities, which the strategies aim to do.
Specifically, it means developing a policy in a way that prioritizes data privacy and makes the relationship between the individual and the digital infrastructure as confident and successful as possible.
It is a problem that countries and organizations around the world are grappling with. While there is no silver bullet, DMA has worked through its global sister organization, GDMA, and DMAs in more than 30 countries on five continents to develop global privacy principles.
The Seven Principles are ambitious commitments for organizations and governments to create digital and data ecosystems that serve people with fairness, transparency and privacy, with the overall goal of improving society and the economy.
While countries and organizations around the world today have widely varying data standards, there are few better examples of government embracing and promoting these principles than in Scotland.
The GDMA principles and the Scottish Digital and AI strategies focus directly on the ethical use of data, privacy, accountability, transparency, security and accountability. They understand the need for innovation and growth. Above all, they ensure that people are now at the center of technological development from which many have previously been alienated.
Scottish industry also has a role to play. DMA Scotland’s Value of Data campaign has fostered ethical and people-centered attitudes towards data in Scotland’s growing data and digital sector. Increasingly, organizations are aligning themselves with the understanding that successful ethical and business approaches are one and the same. This is a truth that must be spread much further. Nonetheless, with the exponential growth of the data and digital sectors in Scotland, the opportunity to export the Scottish approach – and for digital and data commerce – is huge.
However, for both government and industry, the job is not done. In the next term of office, Parliamentarians and the Scottish Government must work with the Scottish people and organizations across the country to push these strategies and initiatives to work to the best of their ability.
Success will not only transform Scotland for the better – it will create the model of a thriving digital nation to be replicated around the world.
Michael Sturrock, Head of Public Affairs, DMA