Posted: Tue 10th May 2022
SoapBoxLabs founder Dr Patricia Scanlon has been appointed as Ireland’s first Artificial Intelligence Ambassador.
As AI Ambassador, Patricia will lead a national conversation on the role of AI in our lives, emphasising Ireland’s commitment to an ethical approach to the use of the technology and in particular its adoption by enterprise.
SoapBoxLabs uses artificial intelligence in the development of voice and speech recognition applications designed specifically for children’s voices.
The appointment by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, comes after last week’s announcement of the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum (EDAF) of which Patricia is a member.
AI into the future
AI is expected to play a major role in shaping global competitiveness and productivity over the coming decades, granting early adopters significant societal, economic and strategic advantages.
“I am delighted to have been appointed Ireland’s first AI Ambassador,” said Patricia. “I see a clear opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in advocating for and adopting an ethical approach to AI, that puts humans first.
“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.”
A key part of Patricia’s role will be engagement with young people. A National Youth Assembly on AI will be convened in September 2022 (in conjunction with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) to engage with young people on their attitudes, awareness and fears in relation to AI as well as to promote careers in technology.
Speaking about Patricia’s appointment Robert Troy TD said, “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.”
“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,” he added.