The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (“Strategy“), which was prepared by the Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (DTO) and the Ministry of Industry and Technology in line with the Eleventh Development Plan and Presidential Annual Programs, was published on 24 August 2021. The Strategy determines the measures for Turkey’s artificial intelligence (AI) strategy for 2021-2025. (The Turkish text of the Strategy is available here.)
What Does the Strategy State?
The Strategy sets out both the principles in the AI field and the organizational plans and development goals in the AI field in Turkey, as follows:
- Global developments and trends on AI are indicated, with an emphasis on the increase in the recruitment index, number of experts and academic articles in the AI field in recent years.
- The current AI-related legislation, institutions, employment rates, academic studies, investments, technical infrastructures, socioeconomic adjustment arrangements, international collaborations, and structural and workforce transformations are evaluated.
- It is noted that the DTO has been working on a National Data Dictionary (NDD) to provide the necessary infrastructure for the development of AI technologies. Through the NDD, national data inventory will be prepared, a common language among public institutions will be established, and data ownership and liability will be determined. Furthermore, through the Open Government Data Portal to be established by the DTO, it is stated that data produced by public institutions and organizations will be shared publicly in accordance with the principles of intellectual property rights, privacy and protection of national security.
- The Strategy sets forth AI values and principles and communicates the aim to establish a human-oriented, reliable and responsible AI. To that end, it is set out that AI should provide and/or participate in: (i) implementing respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law; (ii) improving the environment and the biological ecosystem; (iii) diversity and inclusion; and (iv) living in peaceful, just and interconnected societies.
- Further to the Strategy, AI technologies must comply with the following principles: (i) proportionality; (ii) safety and security; (iii) impartiality; (iv) privacy; (v) transparency and explicability; (vi) responsibility and accountability; (vii) data sovereignty; and (viii) compliance with multi-stakeholder governance. Accordingly, the AI techniques to be used should be determined in a way that is suitable for legitimate purposes and that do not allow the violation of AI values, while privacy should be protected and the necessary controls should be made.
- Personal data collected for AI systems should be collected, processed, transferred, stored and deleted in accordance with AI values and principles, and the systems should operate in a way that does not prejudice privacy or the protection of personal data.
- The below six strategic priorities are determined within the scope of the Strategy:
- To increase employment in the AI field and to train AI experts: 50,000 people are anticipated to be employed in the field of AI technologies. Further, the number of experts, academics and graduates in the AI field are planned to be increased.
- To support research, entrepreneurship and innovation: AI expenditures are aimed to reach 15% of the total R&D expenditure; the number of enterprises and cooperative projects are intended to be increased.
- To increase the access to quality data and technical infrastructures: The number of institutions with access to common computing infrastructures are planned to be increased; open data areas are intended to be expended and sectoral cloud platforms are planned to be established.
- To make arrangements to accelerate socioeconomic adaptation: Conducting socio-technical research projects and publishing educational workforce research are anticipated.
- To enrich cooperation on an international level: Increasing participation in cross-border projects, publishing Turkey-focused international reports, and organizations for international competitions and projects are planned.
- To accelerate the transformation in the workforce: Increasing employment in the public sector in the AI field, developing public AI projects, and conducting training and awareness studies are anticipated.
In addition to the above, different governance mechanisms are planned within the scope of the Strategy. It is set out that a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Board (“Board“) will be established. Further, establishing an Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem Advisory Group — consisting of representatives from the private sector, academia and nongovernmental organizations to provide advice to the Board — is also among the plans. In addition, it is anticipated that a Public Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem and Sectoral Co-Development Laboratories will be established, whose mechanisms will be supported by an Artificial Intelligence Project Management Guide and Maturity Model, which will be prepared.
The AI field has become subject to recent legislative and organizational developments on a global scale. Many jurisdictions have determined and taken steps to implement AI strategies. Following up on the Strategy will be of importance for the future possible regulations Turkey may enact on this matter