A Cohesive Approach to Maximising the Benefits of AI for Society and the Economy


In January 2024, analysis by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) highlighted that 60% of jobs in advanced economies could be impacted by AI technologies and the OECD’s report ‘The Impact of AI on the Workplace’ (March 2023) recognises that AI can also have positive effects on employment – such as the creation of new jobs, boosting wages and automating dangerous and repetitive tasks.

Whilst AI clearly can have both positive and negative impacts, it is recognised that it is creating opportunities and improving productivity; with countries and locations who have been early adopters benefiting from societal, economic, and strategic advantages that AI can bring. One of these early adopters is Ireland.

Ireland  ‘AI – Here for the Good’

In 2021 Ireland launched its National AI Strategy, ‘AI – Here for the Good’ with the objective of positioning Ireland as a leading country in using AI for economic and societal benefit. The themes are as follows:

  • Levering AI for Ireland’s Economy & Society (higher productivity, better public service outcomes, addressing societal challenges, driving adoption of AI in Irish enterprises.
  • Building Public Trust (a governance ecosystem that promotes trustworthy AI; engagement with the public on the development, governance, and use of AI.
  • Putting the Building Blocks in Place (a strong innovation ecosystem; workforce development; and secure data, digital & connectivity infrastructure)

AI regulation in Ireland comes under the EU AI Act endorsed in February 2024. The Act aims to ensure that ‘the fundamental rights, health, and safety of the individual are protected while promoting responsible innovation’. Additionally, Ireland has developed its own AI Standards & Assurance Roadmap to ensure AI will benefit both Irish society and the economy.

In 2022 the country’s first AI Ambassador was appointed to champion AI as a positive force for society and the economy. Numerous initiatives have been put in place to support the development of AI, particularly in skills and businesses support. A number of examples are included below:

Skills Development

  • In 2019 the SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) Centre for Research Training in AI was established in Cork to bring together supervisors working across the spectrum of AI technologies.
  • IBM partnered with Dublin City University and a skills provider to offer Generative AI learning paths as part of IBM’s free education platform.
  • In March 2024, Microsoft announced a new initiative to build up skills in AI for rural business communities.

Supporting Businesses

Understanding the needs of businesses was fundamental to the country’s AI Strategy, and as such the Enterprise Digital Advisory Forum was established in 2022 to provide a focussed body for government to hear the views and perspectives of businesses (from small enterprises to multi-nationals) and technical experts.

A key part of the AI Strategy was to establish a strong ecosystem to support and help encourage innovation in AI as well as putting in place funding mechanisms to encourage the development of new AI technologies - for example:

  • CeADAR (University College Dublin) is the National Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence and the European Digital Innovation Hub for AI in Ireland. The Centre supports businesses of all sizes to develop/deploy industry prototypes and market-ready AI solutions.
  • NovaUCD, an AI Ecosystem Accelerator for start-ups was launched in March 2024. This Accelerator is a partnership between University College Dublin and CeADAR,
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Limerick has established programmes to support the take-up of AI technologies in the manufacturing sector.

AI Funding:

  • The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund - a €500 million challenge-based fund
  • SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) AI for Good Challenge Funds – a 2019 fund which focussed on challenges with societal and economic impact.
  • The €30m Sure Valley Ventures III 10-year fund launched in 2023 targets investments in Irish tech firms involved in developing AI solutions. Enterprise Ireland contributed €15m to this fund.

The AI Related Business Base

Dublin’s existing ‘big tech’ companies including IMB, Oracle, Google, Cisco and Microsoft, Meta and Amazon have been expanding their AI capabilities in the city. In 2013 US based AI research and deployment company, OpenAI opened a European office in Dublin. Businesses from other industries establishing AI related operations, include US owned financial services company, BNY Mellon who recently set-up a global AI and data analytics R&D hub in Dublin.

Investments from professional services firms include EY who opened its AI labs in Dublin in 2022; and PwC and Microsoft who launched their new GenAI Business Centre to support local businesses in adopting AI technologies.

There is also a growing base of AI start-ups including: Gemmo AI, Boxever, SoapBox Live and Everseen.


Ireland has taken a proactive and a cross government/agency approach to positioning the country as an early adopter of AI technologies whilst at the same time working with its residents and businesses to ensure that AI will bring considerable benefits to the country as a whole. To help ensure this, skills and innovation initiatives have also been established outside of Dublin and in rural areas.

This joined up approach includes promoting Ireland as a centre for talent in AI Research & Innovation; with the Department of Foreign Affairs working through its embassy/consulate network in key markets with Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and IDA Ireland.

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