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Ministers Richmond and Calleary launch Ireland’s AI Standards and Assurance Roadmap

Standardisation is key to delivering the accountability and trust needed to ensure commercial and societal acceptance of AI.

Today in the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD and Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary TD launched Ireland’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Standards & Assurance Roadmap.

This roadmap is a key deliverable of Ireland’s National AI Strategy to develop and utilise Artificial Intelligence for the benefit of Irish society and our economy. The roadmap is firmly rooted in supporting Ireland’s implementation of the EU AI Act, which is fundamental to the future of AI within Ireland, across the EU and indeed globally. The roadmap was developed as a result of the Top Team on Standards in AI engagement process.

Speaking at the launch Minister Richmond said:

AI will be a gamechanger for global competitiveness and productivity over the coming decades. It is vital that Ireland is an early adopter of AI, but we must do so in a safe and ethical way. Done correctly, AI has the potential to bring huge societal, economic and strategic advantages to Ireland.

“The NSAI and their Top Team on Standards for AI have done great work in delivering this Standards and Assurance Roadmap, which will play a major role in Ireland’s aim of being a world leader in AI.

“The Roadmap outlines a clear path for the expansion of Ireland’s international leadership role in AI Standards development, and will form a key part of our readiness initiatives to successfully implement the EU’s AI Act.”

Minister Calleary added:

“AI is a powerful and fast-evolving technology that is and will continue to have a significant global impact. The pace of advancement is rapid and in recent months has been part of greater public discussion highlighting the opportunities but also the concerns. As a government we must address these concerns while also ensuring we are ready to seize the opportunities – for the benefit of enterprise and for public good. Our National AI Strategy provides the framework to achieve this with a central focus on transparent, ethical AI with people at its core.

“The AI Standards and Assurance Roadmap developed by the NSAI is an important milestone under our Strategy and as work progresses on the EU AI Act. I commend the leadership shown by the NSAI on this, and welcome the participation and input of the Top Team from academia, industry and regulators. Standards and certification are a crucial part of our overall goal: trustworthy AI. I want Ireland to be a leader in using ethical AI to benefit our society and economy, and the NSAI Roadmap will help us to achieve this.”

A significant step in ensuring that Ireland is at the forefront of change, the aim of the roadmap is to support Irish enterprises and organisations in embracing AI safely and ethically, through utilising AI standards that are published and in development. Standardisation is also key to supporting the new EU-wide AI regulatory framework to deliver the accountability and trust needed to ensure commercial and societal acceptance of AI.

The Top Team on Standards for AI process, led by NSAI, involved collaborative engagement with leading AI experts from across the Irish AI community, including industry, academia, civil society, the private and public sectors. The roadmap sets out a number of actions to support implementation of the Standards and Assurance aspects of the EU AI Act, ensuring that Ireland can safely unlock the potential that AI can provide.

NSAI CEO Geraldine Larkin commended the efforts of the NSAI team and collaborators, saying:

“AI Standards and Conformity Assessment are central to the new European regulatory model for AI and are key tools in providing clarity for Irish industry and assurance to the public on regulatory compliance with the forthcoming EU AI Act. As outlined in this Roadmap, NSAI has an important role to play, working with Government, agencies, Irish industry and the standardisation community, in contributing to Ireland’s readiness to successfully implement the Act.

“NSAI also carries out a key role in supporting the growth of Irish business in the area of emerging technology in our role as a business support agency in collaboration with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I want to thank the NSAI team, the Top Team on Standards in AI and all collaborators for their contribution towards the development of this AI Standards & Assurance Roadmap. It is a significant document that paves the way for Ireland to be at the forefront of change.”

Existing models of assurance – audits, certification schemes, accreditation processes and impact assessments – can all form part of an AI assurance ecosystem. Ireland, through NSAI, actively participates in international AI standardisation through engaging in the work of ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Sub-Committee on AI. In addition, NSAI experts also actively contribute to EU AI standardisation through the work of CEN-CENELEC.

There is already a well-developed expertise in AI Standardisation here in Ireland and a key action of this Roadmap is to continue to support and enhance the influence of Irish AI experts, stakeholders, and Irish industry in international AI standards development.

For more information visit NSAI.