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A look at AI in Singapore’s workforce

Whether we realise it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a part of our lives. Some of us use it daily through applications such as Siri on smartphones and Bixby on Samsung phones.

But how is AI being implemented into Singapore’s workforce?

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) provided a quick rundown on the various available platforms for the inculcation of AI skills into the workforce

The Services and Digital Economy (SDE) Tech Roadmap provides resources to companies to allow them to maximise the benefits of digitalisation. Service 4.0, the pinnacle of the roadmap, is the stage of the seamless use of emerging technologies.

It is meant to help companies employ technologies to provide better experiences for their customers.

“In Services 4.0, service delivery is automated for repetitive and mundane tasks. Workers are augmented with emerging technologies for creativity, analytical thinking, emotional intelligence, and innovation” said Mr Howie Lau, chief industry development officer of IMDA’S Industry Development Group.

Building AI skills

The TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative helps Singaporean professionals to develop key tech skills. Under this initiative, the TeSA AI Apprenticeship (AIAP) is focused on building and growing AI expertise across Singapore’s workforce and nurturing AI talent within Singapore.

As part of this apprenticeship, workers will be attached to government agencies or organisations and will undergo training while working on projects.

Mr Lee Cheng Kai, 29, a research assistant at the Singapore Data Science Consortium, underwent a nine-month apprenticeship. During that time, he worked on a Predictive Lift Maintenance Project with Surbana Jurong and SMU (Singapore Management University) iCityLabs. He and his teammate built a machine learning model with the ability to predict if a lift was going to break down in the following week.

Everyone can learn AI

Other initiatives include AI for Industry (AI4I) and AI for Everyone (AI4E). They were both developed in partnership between IMDA and AI SG under the TeSA initiative. The AI4I initiative, which is funded by the Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme Plus (CITREP +) under IMDA, is ideal for professionals who are keen on gaining AI skills.

For people who have minimal ICT background or knowledge, the AI4E initiative would be ideal in providing foundational AI learning through its free workshops.

In an earlier OpenGov article, we reported about another programme under the TeSA initiative called ‘ThoughtWorks Jumpstart!’, which is for individuals who want to establish a career as being a software developer. This programme is made for those with a non-ICT background, more focused at those from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

It is a three-month programme which involves rigorous coaching and mentorship in software development skillset acquisition and hands-on project experience with experienced professionals from the industry.

AI and its growth

IMDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Media Manpower for 2018, forecasted a strong demand for over 28,500 ICT professionals from 2018 to 2020.

Mr Lau said that could generate US$215 billion (S$293 billion) in gross value added across 11 major industries in Singapore. He said that this amount is double the national economic growth rate and will propel labour productivity by more than 40 per cent.

“The opportunities are immense in the AI field. AI is one of the frontier tech skills in high demand over the next few years, and companies and workers can deepen their skills in AI or data to fully seize the many opportunities tech can bring to optimising businesses. IMDA will continue to work closely with sector agencies, research institutions, and the industry to develop the AI ecosystem and our talent” said Mr Lau.

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