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Ireland’s First Artificial Intelligence Ambassador Appointed

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, has appointed Dr Patricia Scanlon as Ireland’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ambassador.

AI is expected to play a major role in shaping global competitiveness and productivity over the coming decades, granting early adopters significant societal, economic and strategic advantages.

As AI Ambassador, Dr Scanlon will lead a national conversation on the role of AI in our lives, emphasising Ireland’s commitment to an ethical approach to the use of the technology and in particular its adoption by enterprise.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, said, “digitisation is transforming our lives and our economy and artificial intelligence will be at the forefront of this transformation. It is widely used in so many areas of everyday life from helping us choose what films we watch to how we book flights and so much more. As a general purpose technology it has transformative potential in a wide variety of sectors with implications for the whole of society, but for many people and businesses it is something to be ignored or worse, feared.”

“If we are to rebuild a resilient, future-proofed economy we must prepare for it and part of that is to start a national conversation to better understand technologies such as AI. It therefore gives me great pleasure to appoint Dr Scanlon as Ireland’s first AI Ambassador. As an AI developer, Dr Scanlon has used this powerful technology to help children to learn. She will draw on her experience and expertise as an Irish SME in the field to help to demystify artificial intelligence for people and for small businesses who may be hesitant to engage with AI.”

“We cannot stem progress, but we can embrace it. AI can bring great benefits to our society in areas such as healthcare, climate action and education. It is important that we look at all aspects of the technology so we have a full and informed understanding of how it will impact of lives from now and into the future.”

Newly appointed AI Ambassador Dr Patricia Scanlon said, “I am delighted to have been appointed Ireland’s first AI Ambassador. Artificial Intelligence already influences many facets of our daily lives and has the power to deliver an enormous and positive impact for both businesses and society once the benefits and potential risks are understood.”

“I see a clear opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in advocating for and adopting an ethical approach to AI, that puts humans first. In my new role I look forward to working to demystify AI and promoting the positive impacts it can have in areas such as health, agriculture, transport and education. I also am excited to hear the views of young people about the role they believe AI should have in shaping their futures and the future of Ireland in the coming decades.”

Dr Scanlon takes up her appointment immediately and will work with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on a schedule of engagements in her new role. She will also be a member of the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum (EDAF).

A key part of Dr Scanlon’s role will be engagement with young people. A National Youth Assembly on AI will be convened in September 2022 (in conjunction with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) to engage with young people on their attitudes, awareness and fears in relation to AI as well as to promote careers in technology.

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