Artificial intelligence report

AI strategy: Progress comes with need for overhaul

The implementation report on the AI: Here for Good strategy outlines that important first steps are being taken to roll out AI. However, with new guidance and regulations emerging on AI, it is likely that there will need to be an overhaul to the strategy.

AI: Here for Good is the State’s national AI strategy. Established in July 2021, it was founded on three core principles: adopting a human-centric approach to the application of AI; staying open and adaptable to new innovations; and ensuring good governance to build trust and confidence for innovation to flourish.

The National AI Strategy itself is divided into eight strands, under three broad headings:

Building public trust in AI:

  1. Strand One: AI and society
  2. Strand Two: A Government ecosystem that promotes trustworthy AI

Leveraging AI for economic and social benefit

  1. Strand Three: Driving adoption of AI in Irish enterprise
  2. Strand Four: AI serving the public

Enablers for AI

  1. Strand Five: A strong AI information ecosystem
  2. Strand Six: AI education, skills, and talent
  3. Strand Seven: A supportive and secure infrastructure for AI
  4. Strand Eight: Implementing the strategy

The report on the implementation of the strategy to date lists the actions taken to date under each strand.

“Changes to the world of work are to be expected, but it is likely that much of the disruption caused by AI will result in changes to job roles, tasks, and distribution, rather than actual job losses.”
Minister of State Dara Calleary, TD

AI and society

Of the five strategic objectives under the AI and society strand of the strategy, three have been completed, with the implementation report claiming that two objectives are “in progress”.

The Government completed the goal of appointing a national AI Ambassador, with the appointment of Patricia Scanlon in May 2022. The implementation report states that a full report on Scanlon’s activities over the first year will be published separately.

With the objective of education young people about the benefits of and precautions pertaining to the use of AI, the implementation report classifies this strand as completed, owing to the establishment of the National Youth Assembly on AI, which was done in October 2022.

An AI governance ecosystem

The report assesses that, with collaboration at an EU level to discuss regulations throughout the Union, the objective of establishing a “horizontal framework” for the governance of AI is “in progress”. In December 2023, the European Commission outlined a draft EU AI Act, although reception of this regulation has been mixed among computing and systems experts, as there is a perception that AI is too complex and nuanced in different sectors for a single regulatory framework to be an effective way of governing it.
AI in the private sector

If it can be successfully integrated into private sector operations, it is likely that use of AI will lead to enhanced levels of economic growth. However, these positive projections have been mirrored by questions as to whether increased use of AI will lead to job losses.

The Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum, established in May 2022, brings together representatives of indigenous enterprises, multi-national enterprises, and experts in digital technologies and their adoption by business, as well as representatives of government departments and agencies.

The implementation report states that meetings of this forum to date have focused on “the building blocks of AI” and perspective digital transition to be taken by corporations, which include new skills challenges and prospective supports from government. The forum has included AI adoption by enterprise as one of its dedicated workstreams in its 2023 work programme.

On meeting skills challenges, the report states that work is underway to find a successor to Technology 2022, Ireland’s third ICT skills action plan. The report further states that this successor plan will target digital skills right across the labour market and will take into account broader digital skills labour market priorities, as well as themes emerging from the Funding the Future and OECD Skills Review reports, the EU Structured Dialogue on Digital Education and Skills, as well as ongoing close collaboration with enterprise.

Upon publication of the implementation report, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital Transformation and Company Regulation at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Dara Calleary TD, said: “The pace of advancements is rapid and over recent months AI has really entered the public consciousness and discourse. There are concerns, both real and perceived, and we must address these to ensure that we are not letting opportunities pass us by. We must ensure that we are having open and informed conversations on AI and all its potential.

“Changes to the world of work are to be expected, but it is likely that much of the disruption caused by AI will result in changes to job roles, tasks, and distribution, rather than actual job losses.”

Show More
Back to top button