Patricia Scanlon: ‘I didn’t even think about becoming an entrepreneur until I was 39’

Patricia Scanlon is the founder and chair of SoapBox Labs, an Irish technology company that uses AI to develop cloud-based speech recognition solutions for young children. Previously named by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s top 50 women in tech, Scanlon was recently appointed by the government to be Ireland’s first AI ambassador

Patricia Scanlon: ‘You wouldn't construct a building without regulations, nor should you build AI solutions without them.’ Picture: Aoife Murphy

Becoming the state’s first AI ambassador is an honour. I put myself forward for the role, and part of the reason for doing that was to demystify what artificial intelligence is so that more people understand it. There are lots of negatives associated with AI but there are also really exciting opportunities it gives rise to which are truly life changing, and I’m keen for people to learn about them.

Having an AI ambassador also shows the world that we in Ireland are taking things seriously. My appointment isn’t the end of things, but the start. It plays a part in an ongoing discussion about what AI is and what it can do for a society and it is great to see the state playing such an active role in facilitating something that needs to be talked about.