Scotland will become the first UK country to make it mandatory for public sector bodies to to make clear when they've used artificial intelligence, it will be announced today.

AI is already in use in a number of sectors with Mia, a breast cancer diagnostic tool, currently being piloted in NHS Grampian.

Proposals have also been developed by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration to devise a system which could be used to support the identification of child sexual exploitation.

Currently public bodies are encouraged to voluntarily log any use of artificial intelligence on the Scottish AI Register, a publicly-accessible database.

At Thursday's Scottish AI Summit at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh though, plans will be announced to make it mandatory for all public sector bodies to register use of the technology on the database.

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “With our world-renowned talent for research, innovation and ingenuity, Scotland is perfectly placed to capitalise on the rapid growth of AI – but it must be used in a way that is open, ethical and transparent.

The Herald: Richard Lochhead

“From cancer diagnostics to helping our net zero journey, AI is a powerful and rapidly-developing tool the public sector can use to help drive efficiency and deliver solutions.

“Making it mandatory for public sector use of AI to be registered will not only give the public increased confidence that AI is being used openly and transparently, but will also act as an increasingly powerful source of best practice, helping ensure AI is used in ways which is both economically and technically viable and makes a positive impact across society.”

Neil Hunter, Principal Reporter/Chief Executive of Scottish Childrens Reporter Administration: “SCRA felt that being part of the AI register was hugely important. As a public body working in a sensitive area of service delivery we wanted to be fully up front and open about our early exploratory work on potential future uses of technology that might have a positive impact on our skilled work.

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“Our involvement in the register also unlocked a lot of support and advice from across Scottish Government and partners on issues of research and evidence, experience elsewhere from a national and global perspective – and most critically for us – access to expertise on issues of ethics, impact, rights and privacy.

"We are at a very early and exploratory stage – but registration has really helped us get access to the support and advice we need to ensure that any future journey is well informed and genuinely focussed on the public benefit.”

Jora Gill, CEO and co-founder of artificial intelligence business said: "The AI Register aligns seamlessly with our core value of enabling responsible AI adoption.

“Being listed on the AI Register demonstrates our commitment to open collaboration and knowledge sharing to advance the safe and ethical use of AI for public good. We believe this level of transparency is essential for building public confidence and driving innovation that serves citizens' best interests.

“We wholeheartedly support the Scottish Government's vision for the AI Register and look forward to continued collaboration to unlock AI's potential responsibly and transparently for public sector transformation.”