A highlight from AI Today Podcast: Interview with Albert King, Chief Data Officer of the Scottish Government


The AI today podcast produced by cognac cuts through the hype and noise to identify what is really happening now in the world of artificial intelligence. Learn about emerging AI trends, technologies, and use cases from cognitive analysts and guest experts. Hello, and welcome to the AI today podcast. I'm your host, Kathleen mulch. And I'm your host Ronald mills are in. Thank you for joining us again on our AI today podcast. We are now in our 5th season. That is we've been recording for over four years. We celebrated our fourth anniversary earlier this month in September of 2021 if you're listening to us later on. And well over 200 plus episodes. And we've been focusing on the challenges and the issues of making AI work within enterprises and organizations of all types. And you've heard us interview organizations from large banks and financial service institutions, pharmaceutical companies, especially in the past year as they've been going through the pandemic and really reworking their organizations from top to bottom. And as well as, as well as government organizations in the United States federal state and local level internationally Protestant review, lord Tim Clement Jones, the UK House of lords and Australian folks in Hungarian folks and companies in countries from all around the world. It's very interesting that we're all kind of moving this shipped forward. It's actually kind of nice how international artificial intelligence truly is. And that there really isn't such a centricity of the technology as maybe there has been what social media and other things Silicon Valley centric or computing and that's where stuff. New AI is really properly very international. And it is on that sort of note that I am really thrilled to introduce our guest presenter a guest host sorry guest. Featured guest for our AI today podcast. And that is Albert King, who is the chief data officer of the Scottish government. We are sort of thrilled totally thrilled to have him here. So thank you so much Albert for joining us on AI today podcast. Well, I am delighted to be here on apparently in such exalted company as well, what a treat. So excited to be here. Yeah, we're excited to have you today and for this interview. So we'd like to start by having you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your background and also about your current role at as CDO of the Scottish government. Our listeners know that we have produced country level strategy reports on how different countries their AI adoption and their AI strategy. And so we're really excited to have you here to share what Scotland is doing as well. So yeah, so please introduce yourself to our listeners. Yeah, thanks very much. So I'm essentially my job is to make real Scottish government's vision for data that you systematically to save time money and lives and that's all about contributing to making Scotland wealthier fairer and greener. So no small job then. And so is the center of excellence with data in government, my teams are committed to helping us realize that vision. And that's really through, I guess, three things through the platforms that we've provide to support the sort of end to end data journey for analysts across government and public bodies in Scotland. Secondly, really about providing specialist expertise and analytical skills, particularly in areas where those difficult to acquire or particular kind of deep expertise. And thirdly, really around providing the policies and governance that we've put in place to deliver all of that. So I would look at peace. So yeah, as I say, we're making that vision real through the services we provide in the policy and strategies we create and deliver. Ultimately, then to help us to achieve the outcome set out in our national performance framework. So full disclosure on the date professional to trade. So I would tinker with all this technology just for fun if people like me, but it turns out it's really about the ultimately the social economic and environmental value that's creates. And the national performance framework. So our purpose as a government to create a more successful country in Scotland and interestingly actually picking up on some of what you were saying earlier. I definitely think this is an agenda where we can connect apart from the other things I said about wealthier fair and greener to that international agenda because this is really and one of the things that is really clear is that there are challenges around this technology that really do have that international dimension to that opportunity to demonstrate our international contribution and that we're not we're looking at nation language very important as well. So linking all of that back then to AI that is a big feature of our AI strategy that NPF at national performance framework woven through it connects those outcomes and it really is the AI strategy really is about putting people and society at its heart and achieving those outcomes through the adoption and use of that particular sort of data driven technology. So yeah, it's fantastic. And that's really very interesting. I think our listeners might be really very interested in the NPF the national performance framework because people are looking for frameworks in general to help guide whether they're multinational organizations and agencies or their country level agencies or organizations or even businesses of all types and sizes. We're all trying to figure out how to really make data really work in a way that's beneficial to the organization and to our customers and to our citizens and to everyone in the society. And I think that's an interesting place now. People are paying much more attention to data. I think nowadays, did the average person that we might have in the past. And as meant as Kathleen mentioned, we have covered AI strategies from Afghanistan Zimbabwe and every country in between, you know, Botswana and Cape Verde and Colombia and Hungary and it's interesting. Really, most nations are thinking about their countries positioning with regards to AI at the production or the consumption level. So in March of 2021, earlier this year, we know that Scotland published its own AI strategy and we talked a little bit about that just now. But maybe you could tell our listeners a little bit about sort of what led up to the creation. And a little bit about the strategy as well as to kind of how Scotland feels it's participating in playing within this global ecosystem of data forward organizations. Yeah, thanks. Yeah, so the background AI strategy, I guess. And the genesis of it, if you like, it was a recognition of first of all some strengths, maybe that Scotland has an AI, so we've got excellent research institutions here in Scotland. University in Scotland do some of the often recognized in top rankings for research. There was also a sort of piece around the innovative companies that we've got in Scotland. So really transforming, I guess the potential that that research creates into the economic value and also actually innovative public services that are looking to adopt this technology. And as you know, as you were saying, turn the technology into real, in this case, social value. But there was also a recognition of the risks and indeed fears that sometimes are associated with this technologies. And so that came together really, I guess, as the impetus that drove us to act and ministers are cabinet secretary for finance access to take forward the development of an AI strategy. I mean, really asking us to put citizens at the center of that to maximize the value for AI and really I suppose with the driving thinking that we would only see that value realized if it's adopted widely and underpinned by confidence and trust in the technology. So

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