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Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council will provide independent expert advice to government

The AI Advisory Council, established by Minister of State with responsibility for Digital, Dara Calleary TD, to provide independent expert advice to government on artificial intelligence policy, met for the first time today. The Council will provide independent expert advice to government on artificial intelligence policy, with a specific focus on building public trust and promoting the development of trustworthy, person-centred AI. Its first role will be providing expert guidance, insights, and recommendations in response to specific requests from government. Its second role will be developing and delivering its own workplan of advice to government on issues in artificial intelligence policy, providing insights on trends, opportunities, and challenges.

In welcoming the first meeting of the Council, Minister Calleary said:

“Ireland has a wealth of experience and expertise in Artificial Intelligence. My ambition is that we become a leading country in using AI to the benefit of our people, through a human centred and ethical approach to AI adoption and use. We have the building blocks in place in our National AI Strategy. The AI Advisory Council will support the delivery of this as an agile sounding board for government on harnessing these rapidly developing technologies for the common good.

“Dr Patricia Scanlon has done an excellent job in her role as Ireland’s AI Ambassador since 2022. I welcome her continued commitment to public service in volunteering to Chair the AI Advisory Council. I also welcome the commitment of all the members of the Council in volunteering their time, experience and expertise.”

 Dr Patricia Scanlon, Chair of the AI Advisory Council said:

“I look forward to leading the AI Advisory Council in providing timely, impactful recommendations and advice to Government. The members of the Council come from a range of backgrounds. Their collective insights will be hugely useful, both in helping to demystify AI technology and in providing early foresight of emerging trends, challenges, risks and opportunities”.


Notes for Editors

The members of the AI Advisory Council represent a spectrum of experience and expertise from academia, business, law, security, social sciences, economics, and civil society, appointed by Minister Calleary following a call for expressions of interest. The AI Advisory Council will be a mechanism for expert advice and not a consultative or a representative forum. Its members serve in a voluntary capacity and represent themselves as individuals with relevant experience and expertise, and not their employers or organisations of which they may be members. The Council will meet a minimum of three times a year. It will provide advice to government through the Cabinet Committee on the Economy and Investment as well as to individual Ministers, as requested.

Members of the AI Advisory Council

Dr Patricia Scanlon is Chair of the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council. She is Founder and Executive Chair of SoapBox Labs, a leading provider of proprietary voice technology for children. She holds a PhD and has over 20 years experience working in speech recognition and AI technology, including at Bell Labs and IBM. She has served as Ireland’s AI Ambassador since 2022.

Prof. Deirdre Ahern is a Professor of Law and Director of the Technologies, Law and Society Research Group at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin. She previously led a research team at the Law Reform Commission. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy's Ethics, Politics, Law and Philosophy Committee and a Fellow of the Information Society Law Centre at the University of Milan. Her research interests have a focus on regulatory policy and corporate governance of new technologies, in particular AI, on which she is a regular speaker.

Dr Abeba Birhane is a cognitive scientist, currently a Senior Advisor in AI Accountability at Mozilla Foundation and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She researches human behaviour, social systems, and responsible and ethical AI. Birhane also serves on the United Nations Secretary-General’s newly-convened High Level Advisory Body on AI.

Mr Bernard Harbor was formerly head of communications and media relations at Fórsa, where he supervised research that underpinned the union’s policy on automation. He has a deep familiarity with industrial relations, the public sector, and the Irish and international media. He has been a member of the ICTU Executive Council and is currently a Governor of the Irish Times Trust. He is a Life Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) and a member of the Board of TASC, Ireland's think tank for action on social change.

Prof. Stephen Kinsella is Full Professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Limerick. He directs UL’s Immersive Software Engineering programme. As an economist with tech sector experience, he also is a regular columnist with extensive experience on state boards.

Dr Susan Leavy is an Assistant Professor with the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin with research interests in artificial intelligence, language processing, social science and AI ethics. She is also one of Ireland’s nominees to the Global Partnership in AI. Susan is a funded investigator with Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics and is leading several projects on trustworthy AI.

Mr Seán Mullaney is currently CTO of Algolia, an AI powered search and discovery platform which serves a range of industries. He actively advises Irish startups and founders as a Venture Board Member at Elkstone and as an angel investor through the Sequoia Scout program. He also serves on the Board of Manna Drone Delivery.

Mr Ronan Murphy is Founder and Executive Chairman of Smarttech247 (an AI powered cybersecurity enterprise) and is Founder of GetVisibility (an AI-driven data security enterprise). He is an expert in the areas of corporate and enterprise security, development of cyber defence programs, business operations protection and protection of critical infrastructure technologies.

Prof. Barry O’Sullivan is an award-winning academic working in the fields of artificial intelligence, constraint programming, operations research, AI/data ethics, and public policy. He contributes to several global Track II AI diplomacy efforts at the interface of military, defence, intelligence, and AI. He was Vice Chair of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on AI and is a member of the Digital Group at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).

Ms Emma Redmond has a background at the intersection of technology and law including at LinkedIn and Stripe and is currently Associate General Counsel, Head of EU Privacy and Data Protection at OpenAI and the first member of the growing OpenAI team in Ireland. Emma is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at University College Dublin.

Ms Bronagh Riordan is Head of Data & Analytics for Irish international retailer Primark, and Chair of the Industry Steering Board for CeADAR, Ireland's national centre for Applied Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and Irelands Digital Innovation Hub for Europe.  She is also a UK and Ireland Chief Data Officer governing body member for Evanta. She has more than 20 years’ experience in Data, Analytics & AI and prior to joining Primark, held senior positions across industry including Director of Global Analytics Centre of Excellence for Deutsche Bank and Head of Data Science for CarTrawler.

Ms Sasha Rubel is Head of Public Policy for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She previously worked at UNESCO on AI and digital innovation, is involved in international AI governance initiatives, and is a member of the OECD AI Network of Experts.

Mr Barry Scannell is a Consultant in the Technology Group of law firm William Fry, where his work is focussed on AI law. He was previously Director of Legal Affairs & Regulatory Compliance at the Irish Music Rights Organisation. He has extensive experience in public communications around AI issues, and in particular, advising on the legal implications of AI technologies. Barry is currently finalising a PhD on AI and copyright in UCC.

Prof. Alan Smeaton is Professor of Computing at Dublin City University and was a founding director of Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and an Academy Gold Medal winner. He has extensive experience in applications and innovations of AI in areas such as computer vision, machine learning, wearables, lifelogging and educational analytics. He is experienced in giving scientific advice to government and actively participates in Educational and Public Engagement activity, including media appearances.