News: Singapore launches plan of becoming an AI powerhouse

Economy & Policy

Singapore launches plan of becoming an AI powerhouse

As Singapore gears up to become ready for Industry 4.0, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, announced the roadmap for the nation’s AI strategy and plan.
Singapore launches plan of becoming an AI powerhouse

The launch of Singapore’s National AI Strategy defines the nation’s next step towards their endeavor of becoming a “Smart Nation.” It is a roadmap that outlines the country’s plan to leverage AI in order to redefine its economy. The plan also aims to make the dream of becoming a global AI powerhouse into a reality. 

“Singapore is ready to deploy AI on a national scale,” said Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore, at the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF X SWITCH) conference. “We aim to be a leader in developing and deploying AI solutions by 2030.

The National AI Office will be set up in order to consolidate the several AI efforts that are underway in multiple sectors in the country. About S$500 Mn has been set aside under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan. As AI can be used across various fields due to its capability to simulate intelligent, human-like behavior in computers, the roadmap outlines several projects that can chalk out a way of using AI in different spheres. 

An initial batch of five national project will kickstart this plan and includes work to be done in Transport and Logistics, Smart Cities and Estates, Healthcare, Education and Safety and Security. 

This plan is designed in order to pave the way forward for investments in R&D and developing the digital infrastructure. 

“AI can be used to analyse clinical and genomic data, medical images and health behaviors to better assess the risk profile of individual patients for better prevention and care management,” said Mr. Heng. 

Three factors that shape the capacity for Singapore’s AI strategy to take off are: a ready workforce, openness and collaboration, and good governance. 

A major part of the roadmap looks into upskilling and growing the strong core of research scientists, developers, engineers, product managers, and entrepreneurs. Heng added that there are plans to train 25,000 professionals in technologies such as basic AI coding and implementation by 2025. 

The Infocomm Media Development Authority and the Singapore University of Technology and Design are working in partnership in order to enhance AI capabilities in order to create future “smart estates.” 

Becoming a powerhouse is possible when a future-ready workforce is built with a “human-centric” approach whenever adopting new technologies, and ensuring that workers have the right skills. 

The Republic will also be working across borders with overseas players in the AI field, as partnerships begin to become stronger between the government, industry, and research community. The launch of the AI Makerspace is a step in the right direction wherein enterprises would be able to kickstart their AI journey by providing them with access to data, AI libraries and resources such as supercomputing skills.  

The good governance aspect of Singapore’s AI vision is going to be crucial wherein engineers ask for solutions and entrepreneurs and venture capitalists ask about the money-making potential. Answering ethical and governance issues would be an essential step. Moreover, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will be working with partners on Veritas, which is a framework for financial institutions to use open-source tools that would enable responsible adoption of AI and data analytics. 

Key takeaway

Since Silicon Valley and Beijing have become global leaders in AI research and developing AI-first startups, Singapore can also become a leading player in innovating advanced AI solutions. The National AI Office will pave the way forward for the country to approach AI in a unique way. The city-state's size and governmental structure gives it an advantage of being agile with AI and adopting new technologies faster than its counterparts. 

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Topics: Economy & Policy, Technology

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