The National AI Strategy was launched in July 2021. This progress report contains some interesting updates including:
- The publication of a Standards and Assurance Roadmap for AI
- Information about the creation of FinTech and EdTech sandboxes
- The establishment of a National AI Hub
- The impact of the appointment of the AI Ambassador
- An update on how the Irish AI Innovation Ecosystem is performing
What’s being measured?
Ireland’s National AI Strategy is divided into eight strands, under three broad headings :
- Building public trust in AI:
- Strand One: AI and society
- Strand Two: A Government ecosystem that promotes trustworthy AI
- Leveraging AI for economic and social benefit
- Strand Three: Driving adoption of AI in Irish Enterprise
- Strand Four: AI serving the public
- Enablers for AI
- Strand Five: A strong AI information ecosystem
- Strand Six: AI education, skills and talent
- Strand Seven: A supportive and secure infrastructure for AI
- Strand Eight: Implementing the strategy
What does progress look like?
The National AI Strategy: AI - Here for Good report lists the actions taken to date under each strand. Detailed reporting is provided for Strands 1 to 7 with a total of 33 line items categorised as “Outstanding”, “Complete” or “In progress”:
- 8 items are marked “Complete”
- 24 are “In progress” and
- 1 is “Outstanding” (“Conduct a mapping of the AI R&I ecosystem”).
We are two years into our official State AI journey, with a current progress conversion rate of almost 25%, and the vast majority of items in progress. This is reasonable given the timeframe and the broad long terms scope of many of these items.
AI Ambassador – Ireland’s AI Ambassador, Dr. Patricia Scanlon, is praised for her invaluable role as a sounding board on AI for policymakers and businesses. She will continue in this role for another year.
AI Standards – The NSAI published the Standards and Assurance Roadmap for AI, developed by the Top Team in July 2023. NSAI will continue this role of progressing AI standards at an EU level. This is vital for businesses looking for a practical means for operationalising AI Act obligations in due course.
AI Hub – CeADAR has been designated to act as Ireland’s National AI Hub and will serve as a point of contact for SMEs seeking support as they work with AI. Certification, which will be developed under the NSAI’s Standards and Assurance Roadmap for AI will play an important role here. CeADAR will work closely with Government and the Enterprise Agencies to derisk the use of AI by businesses, by helping them to assess the trustworthiness of AI solutions.
Regulatory – Enterprise Ireland is exploring the potential of a sandbox in the area of fintech in particular, where the use of AI is increasingly prevalent. An EdTech sandbox is also under consideration.
AI Innovation Ecosystem – There are reports on advances being made in testbeds and experimentation facilities. This is promoting Irish participation in international AI R&I programmes, all-island cooperation on AI, and promoting Ireland as a centre for talent in AI R&I.
The conclusion to the National AI Strategy: AI - Here for Good report is quite upbeat. It’s reported that Ireland sees a huge opportunity from expected developments in AI technology in the next five years. This is a result of preparing for the next generation of AI for a number of years. It seems that with the foundational building blocks now in place through the implementation of the AI strategy, Ireland is in a strong and secure place for AI investment. The focus will move to driving the adoption of AI tools by the broader enterprise economy, as well as supporting the growth of AI companies.
Only time will tell of course. The pace of adoption of the technology and related laws and codes of practice will challenge the State, particularly when it comes to implementing the apparatus of the new AI Act conformity assessment regime. Finding enough funding and qualified individuals to build an international standard AI regulatory regime could be the greatest challenge yet.
For more information, contact a member of our Artificial Intelligence team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.
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