The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Artificial Intelligence and Democracy

Two people sitting at a table with a microphone in front of them

With developments in artificial intelligence [AI] speeding up, what effect will this technology have on our democracy?

What do we mean when we talk about artificial intelligence? What are the opportunities and what are the dangers? And how, as citizens and as a democracy, should we react?

This podcast, recorded in May 2023, explored the potential impact of AI on our lives and the implications we should consider.

It features expert contributions from Professor Ewa Luger, Professor of Human-Data Interaction at the University of Edinburgh, and Richard Leonard MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee.

Artificial Intelligence and Democracy – Richard Leonard MSP and Professor Ewa Luger Podcasts By The Scottish Parliament

The podcast continues work on the subject, including:

  1. Parliamentary Responses to Artificial Intelligence: A short review of the responses of Parliaments around the world to the development of artificial intelligence [AI].
  2. Artificial Intelligence and Accountability: Report and podcast from a seminar in June 2022 focused on what happens when decisions made by algorithm don’t work as intended: who is accountable and how are they held accountable?
  3. Scrutinising the Use of Artificial Intelligence: A Toolkit: A toolkit with seven key questions to scrutinise the design and use of artificial intelligence – for parliaments and others.

Speaker biographies

Prof. Ewa Luger

Professor Ewa Luger is co-Director of the Institute of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, and Director of Research Innovation at ECA. Her research explores social, ethical and interactional issues in the context of complex data-driven systems, particularly AI. 

Ewa is an expert adviser to the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a member of the Leadership Circle for the Scottish Government’s AI Alliance, and she works with the World Economic Forum on issues of data and trust. She has recently written the book “What Do We Know and What Should We Do About AI”, which explains what we mean when we talk about AI and explores how we got here and where we should go next.

Richard Leonard MSP has served as an MSP for the Central Region since he was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016. Richard was leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2017 to 2021.  

Richard is a former Organiser for the GMB trade union and a former Scottish TUC economist. He is convener of the Parliament’s Public Audit Committee


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The Scottish AI Alliance is a partnership between The Data Lab and the Scottish Government.