The ‘Archer’ supercomputer is being upgraded and will play a central part in delivering data innovation at scale for the Edinburgh region

if new solutions can be developed and tested both faster and more precisely. “Tis is all about how we can

embed innovation in real-life practice in the region,” Eskelinen says. “One might say that universi- ties have not always been so good at looking at place-based com- mercialisation opportunities, but with this deal we have an obliga- tion to make sure that we deliver scalable results to our region. We are used to providing safe access to these datasets for researchers without jeopardising security or privacy, so we have these nuts and bolts of building a well-managed operation, which can be delivered at speed using the cloud.” Every global city is looking for

its own ‘edge’ in the data world. It can be said that the social goals within the programme provide that advantage, as they link to the progressive agenda of govern- ment. But there are other fields within data that are yet to be

the university – and inform the national strategy through her role as the Chair of the Scottish Govern- ment’s Data Delivery Group – as it rises to the challenge of developing a working model to mitigate any biases that could impact the way AI solutions are designed. Eskelinen believes this is all vital to ensure that Edinburgh ‘does data right’, a guiding principle enshrined at the heart of the programme. He says: “Laws and policies are

The Old Royal Infirmary will become the Edinburgh Futures Institute, which is due to open in 2022

cracked. Scotland is embarking on a national Artificial Intelligence strategy, which will be published later this year. Part of that process will be to engage with the chal- lenge of devising a regulatory landscape that is fit for purpose when it comes to delegating hu- man decisions to machines.

10 | FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2020 Shannon Vallor, a former consul-

tant on ethics for Google and pro- fessor at the Santa Clara University in California, arrived at the Univer- sity of Edinburgh in February as the first Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelli- gence (AI) at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI). Her work will help

needed but have been slow to develop – there is a need to get our policy frameworks in shape so we can act quicker to make use of data in a way that is compat- ible with the rights of individuals and organisations. So, we want to study questions or privacy and ownership and to understand how the fair use principle can contrib- ute to the delivery of better public services, allowing all our citizens and companies to benefit.” l

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