DUBLIN, Ireland: To retain thousands of high-tech jobs in future years, Ireland must become a "global hub" for artificial intelligence, according to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney.
Noting Ireland's unique position to participate in the development of artificial intelligence, Coveney said ignoring or prohibiting artificial intelligence will only send jobs to other countries.
Still, Coveney warned, artificial intelligence poses dangers to society and said strong regulation of this developing technology will be critical.
"There are huge opportunities and the idea that we can kind of shut it off or ignore it is a bit like swimming against the tide, it's not going to work," Coveney said, as quoted by the Irish Examiner.
"AI is going to change how how many companies operate, how society evolves, how economies evolve, and I want Ireland to be at the sharp end of that opportunity and that innovation, but also very much involved in the conversation about how we regulate that change, because it also poses huge threats," he said.
Coveney noted that Ireland needs to focus on working with artificial intelligence because so many tech companies have their headquarters in the country.
"They're here already, companies like Cisco, IBM, Meta and Apple, they're all investing in AI heavily. All of the big players that are in Ireland - don't think that they're waiting for an AI company to come and give them the services, they're in the middle of it and they're also trying to manage the use of AI in a way that's appropriate and transparent and innovative."
Coveney described artificial intelligence as"extraordinarily exciting," adding, "I hope Ireland will be the global hub for advancement, research and also the right kind of regulation around AI."
"If Ireland wants to remain at the centre of the world, in terms of technology; the research and development around that; the jobs that get created around that; the wealth that gets created around that; well then we have to be at the forefront and we have to have an open mind to these technologies."
However, Coveney noted that regulating artificial intelligence will not be easy.
"When you have AI that can effectively replicate people's voices, people's faces, they can essentially write articles and mirror how any individual journalist might write an article, you have a very, very powerful tool that I think can be a force for positive change, but can also be a rogue actor in people's lives. So we have to think carefully and we are very much part of this conversation at a European level."
He further said that while the EU will be the first area in the world to regulate AI, its actions will not be perfect and will have to "evolve and change as the threats evolve and change."