Sir Tom and Lord Haughey have urged assistance for Scottish companies and entrepreneurs to help them better understand the intricacies of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – and how its advent could directly and indirectly affect business.

“I was listening to an expert just this morning,” said Lord Haughey, “who is regarded as one of the top guys in this area but has quit his work to write about the pros and cons of AI. 

“One of the statistics he brought up was unbelievable: that, as a single company, Amazon spends more on the development of AI than most countries in the world. That is frightening.

“The number one thing he pointed out is the real danger of what could happen if a rogue state became all-powerful in AI and began using it in the wrong way.”

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Sir Tom agreed, adding: “There are always going to be pros and the cons. I do remember way back in the Nineties going over to Walmart in the US. A guy showed us around their IT systems and it was amazing to see the money they had ploughed into them. 

“I asked him where he had worked before and he told me: “I was at the Pentagon. But you know Walmart are spending more on our IT systems than the Pentagon ever did on theirs!” 

“I mean, it was unbelievable. 

“But I do think for the businesses in Scotland, I’m going to treat Artificial Intelligence as an opportunity. I’m going to let others worry about the potential threats.

“The fact is we should be doing more to help businesses understand AI. It’s a huge phenomenon: probably the biggest change that’s going to happen to business in the next five years.”

Lord Haughey joked: “Well, I’m certainly going to try to learn a bit more about it; I wonder if Glasgow Clyde College have a class?”