An ‘ethical artificial intelligence’ policy is being developed by the Scottish Government in conjunction with the public sector and academia.

“Data is key to machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Kate Forbes, the Minister for the Digital Economy. “We want Scotland to continue to lead in the safe, secure and responsible use of data and data science, including AI.”

Speaking at FutureScot’s Cyber Security Leaders Summit today in Glasgow, Forbes said the policy will aim to safeguard privacy, improve transparency, and “allow the development of AI applications for the public good”.

Forbes also expanded on plans, announced in the Government’s Programme for Scotland, for the establishment of a cluster management organisation to support cyber security businesses and grow the sector. The organisation forms part of its economic opportunity plan and wider cyber resilience strategy.

“Scotland has all the right ingredients in place and the right people round the table,” she said. “We have a strong tradition of technological innovation. We have world-leading expertise and technologies and in keeping those technologies secure.

“Our digital strategy and cyber resilience strategy are helping to create a culture and environment in which we take collective action to ensure that we all remain safe, secure and confident about the future.

“If we work in partnership we can build on our existing talent, nurture innovation, to send out a message that Scotland is open and safe to do business and is the best place to start, grow, and invest securely in businesses that can succeed.”

Speaking later at the summit, Polly Purvis, chief executive of digital technologies industry organisation ScotlandIS, said: “So how do we turn the aspiration outlined in the economic opportunity plan into reality and convert the ambitious plans everyone shares into practical action ?

“It’s going to need close collaboration if we are to succeed and we need to set our sights high.

“We need to work on a number of fronts – building the cluster, stimulating the development of new products and services, focussing on innovation. In parallel we need to foster our world class research, promote Scottish capability internationally, showcasing this expertise and ensure we continue to develop the skills the cluster, other businesses and Scottish society needs.

“And we need to continually benchmark ourselves against countries such as Israel and Estonia who have already built international reputations in cyber.”