Seven pioneering projects will share a prize fund of £105,000 to champion the use of artificial intelligence to solve social issues in Scotland.
Ranging from using satellite data to protect Scotland’s wilderness to developing smart artificial limbs that can sense and handle objects, the projects are part of Nesta in Scotland’s AI for Good prize fund programme.
The programme aims to help demystify artificial intelligence (AI) and showcase some of the innovative work being done in Scotland to harness the potential of AI to improve people’s lives.
Adam Lang, Head of Nesta in Scotland, said: “When people think about AI they can often think of it as something negative from science fiction or dystopian stories.
“But AI has enormous potential to improve people’s lives in Scotland and address social issues from chronic health problems to how we deal with our climate emergency.
“At Nesta, we want to showcase some of the amazing work being done in Scotland right now to harness this powerful technology for social good and help to shift public perceptions of AI and how it can be used. The seven projects supported by this fund are excellent examples both of Scotland’s innovation ecosystem and of how AI can be used for real social good.
“As AI becomes more commonplace in our professional and social lives, it is important that we focus on how it will affect people and communities so we can ensure innovations positively address inequalities rather than exacerbate them and that new technologies are open and accessible.”
Scottish Governement Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Scotland is well-placed to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence to benefit our economy, society and environment.
“It’s great to see this fund support a range of projects that will use Artificial Intelligence to make a positive difference for people and places, and I look forward to following their progress.”
Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, said: “The Artificial Intelligence landscape in Scotland, the UK, and across the world is incredibly exciting and inspiring, so to be working at the very heart of something so important, not only in shaping the future of business and the economy, but also in improving people’s lives for the better is extremely rewarding.
“Scotland is placing a focus on the transformational impact AI can have on our society, both socially and economically, and as an organisation, The Data Lab is absolutely committed to assisting Scotland’s people as well as industry and public sector to leverage data in new ways, fuelling innovation through collaboration, building skills and growing talent.”
The seven projects, which have each been awarded £15,000 from Nesta to help develop their work, are: