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New AI strategy will put people before machines, says Scotland’s digital minister


Scotland’s digital minister put people – ‘not machines’ – at the heart of the nation’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) vision, which will take the form of a new strategy launching next year. Kate Forbes, Minister for Public


Finance and Digital Economy, set out the Scottish Government’s in- tention to start a nationwide process that engenders ‘buy-in’ from across society to a plan to use AI as a digital tool to improve citizens’ lives. Forbes MSP, who has personally


taken charge of a steering group committee to develop the strategy, said she wants AI to be relateable to ordinary ‘unsuspecting’ people who may not be digital experts but who can contribute to how an AI strategy is delivered, in terms of automat- ing processes which will unlock economic and social potential, un- derpinned by an ethical framework which guides the process. Speaking at the Royal Society of


Edinburgh – Scotland’s National Academy – Ms Forbes said that the strategy – which will be led by Te Data Lab, the national innovation centre for data science and AI – will be built around saving ‘time, mon- ey and lives’ and could, according to independent research presented at the event by BT, unlock £13bn in additional economic output.


Ms Forbes said that at a time


of “huge uncertainty” that we all have to “work together” and that the “core guiding principle” of the new strategy – which builds on the work of Building a World- Leading AI and Data Strategy for an Inclusive Scotland, a strategy released early this year by the Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI), BT and Scot- landIS – will be citizen-focused. Over the course of the next 12


months – before the strategy is revealed in 2020’s Programme for Government – the Scottish Gov- ernment will work assiduously to consult individuals, groups and businesses to ensure that pub- lic support is secured to build a policy around how AI might be utilised in practice beyond the ‘rhetoric’ of any strategic warm notes of intent. She said: “Because it’s one thing


sharing the rhetoric about what we want to achieve, but quite another putting in place the tangible steps to get the outcome. Our intent to deliver that high-level AI strategy for Scotland focuses on the benefit to the citizen as its core guiding principle, it’s aligned with the National Performance Framework and it aims to enable economic growth.” l


NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin, who spoke at CyberUK in Glasgow in April


Cyber agency working with new Social Security Scotland body, according to annual review


Cyber specialists from the GCHQ-affiliated National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have been working with the new Social Security Scotland agency, according to the or- ganisation’s annual review. Te new devolved agency


Boost for IoT in Scotland


A new programme of activity is set to boost Scotland’s adoption of Internet of Tings (IoT) tech- nologies and support the country’s burgeoning tech sector, through the development of innovative new cy- ber security products and services. Te initiative was recently


announced by Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, at CENSIS’s sixth annual Technology Sum- mit in Glasgow. Led by CENSIS[, in partnership with the Scottish


Government and Scottish Enter- prise, the IoT Cyber Accelerator programme will help businesses and developers enhance the resilience of IoT networks and de- vices, through new products and approaches to cyber security. Up to five companies will be selected following a competitive process for the six-month programme, which will include tailored sup- port from CENSIS and Scottish Enterprise to turn ideas into fully realised products or services. l


– which is being set up by Te Scottish Government to distribute benefits payments – has received expert guidance and advice from the NCSC as it builds its public facing cloud system. Te NCSC, which thwarted


more than 650 cyber attacks in the last year, including at- tempts to imitate the emer- gency services and a plot to hack airlines, has been liaising with public sector agencies across Scotland in a bid to bolster cyber resilience across health, government and local government web domains. According to its Annual Re-


view 2019, the NCSC now has its web check service – part of the Active Cyber Defence (ACD) programme – installed


across all 32 local authorities in Scotland, a 100% coverage rate, compared to 97.75% across the UK as a whole. Web Check, launched in 2017, provides au- tomated vulnerability scanning of registered live web services, making websites a less attrac- tive target, by finding obvious security issues and pointing them out to the website’s own- er so that they can be fixed. Te NCSC has also been


working closely with the health services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure they can benefit from PDNS (Protective Domain Name System), service, de- signed to help NHS organisa- tions to defend against future attacks, including ransomware. It is also providing technical support to bespoke devolved health platforms. A Senior Representative


from NCSC will speak at FutureScot’s Cyber Security 2019 (Public Sector) conference on Tursday, November 28 in Glasgow. l


FUTURESCOT | AUTUMN 2019 | 5


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