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26 May 2022

'We cannot stem progress' - Ireland's first artificial intelligence ambassador chosen

'We cannot stem progress' - Ireland's first artificial intelligence ambassador chosen

Ireland's first ambassador for artificial intelligence (AI) has been appointed. 

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, yesterday (Tuesday May 10) appointed Dr Patricia Scanlon to the role. 

The doctor will lead a national conversation on the role of AI in Irish lives, emphasising Ireland's commitment to an ethical approach in the use of the technology. 

Minister 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." 

According to the minister, AI has "transformative potential" as a general purpose technology. 

He said, "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." 

Speaking about her appointment, Dr Scanlon said Ireland has "a clear opportunity" to become a leader in adopting an ethical approach to AI which "puts humans first". 

She 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.

"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." 

Minister Troy concluded: "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." 

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