The Big Interview

‘You’re either a doomsayer or an advocate’ – Patricia Scanlon, Ireland’s AI ambassador

Tasked with forming an artificial intelligence taskforce, SoapBox Labs founder says Ireland needs to move fast to keep up with the pace of development

Patricia Scanlon, founder of SoapBox Labs and Ireland’s first ambassador for artificial intelligence: ‘We built an ethical AI company before the term ethical AI was even coined.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

When Patricia Scanlon was appointed Ireland’s first ambassador for artificial intelligence in May last year, she did not foresee the explosion in generative AI that would spark a worldwide reaction on par with the advent of social media 20 years ago. Then again, few did.

“Everyone’s been taken by surprise, literally from the latter half of last year,” Scanlon says. “The AI founders didn’t expect it, even the Open AI founders didn’t expect it ...