Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation (IA), not only in Singapore but for most of the world have been around for some time. Most government agencies have adopted some form of AI and IA in their respective operational processes. More recently, this adoption has been accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AI and IA are here and they are here to stay. Intelligent and automated transformation in the public sector will prove vital in providing citizens with a much more efficient and effective experience. The current challenge is integrating them into all service procedures and processes and how to contextualise, adapt and improve these technologies for specific agencies and functions.
A cornerstone for an organisation’s digital transformation, AI and IA can be used to automate programmes to ensure that some manual tasks no longer need to be done by people. This will allow staff to focus on other deliverables that need more human intervention, thus promoting productivity. For the public sector, AI and IA can provide efficiency and effectiveness – delivering citizen services cheaper and more quickly for a better overall experience for agencies and people.
However, the public sector is being held back from reaping the full benefits of AI and Intelligent Automation due to unfamiliarity and the lack of skillset within organisations. To harness the full potential of AI and Intelligent Automation, the public sector must scale up AI implementation and democratise its corporate function.
This was the focal point of the discussion during the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight: AI and Intelligent Automation for Public Sector as a Key to Success in the New Normal on 10 March with digital executives from a wide range of Public Sector agencies from Singapore.
How the pandemic accelerated the usage of AI and IA
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia reiterated the fact AI and IA have has been around for several years now. In fact, both the private and public sectors have been deploying them. Dealing with new technology with far-reaching consequences always comes with the risk of failure and it was no different with these as well. At the same time, however, there was no great pressure to adopt them quickly or comprehensively.
Then, COVID-19 came in and drastically accelerated the need for rapid and ubiquitous adoption. Mohit strongly believes that if organisations did not bring in AI and IA it would have been impossible to cope with the pandemic.
Left with little choice, most governments included automation and AI in their processes leading to greater human-robotic interaction in the new normal. Mohit observed that with these large-scale deployments and the pressing need, inhibition or the scare-factor surrounding these technologies is starting to diminish – but still has a long way to go.
The only way automation and AI to be fully embraced is to democratise them. This implies that everyone in the organisation, even those who do not know how to code, are included on this journey. But what it also means is that when a digital workforce has been set to work, the human resource must be reassigned to tasks that require human intelligence and response.
It is critical that organisations help staff understand that AI and IA are tools for them to use and not something that is going to replace them. This will create an environment of acceptance and openness to genuinely try new things. Of course, this is far easier said than done.
Closing his presentation, Mohit emphasised that this was a journey and organisations must find the right partners to help them implement the right automation strategies – partners who have been down this road and who know what needs to be done.
Scaling and democratising the human-machine collaboration
COVID-19 has ramped up the collaboration between humans and machines. This was the focal point that Ravi Bedi, Head & Practice Lead, AI-Led NEXT Solutions, NCS Group discussed with the distinguished delegates from the Singapore public sector.
Ravi acknowledged that COVID-19 was a significant catalyst for automation. Further, he added that this is a strong opportunity for the public and private sectors to work collaboratively. The need of the hour is a roadmap that brings AI and IA to every citizen in the most natural way possible. AI and automation must not be seen or be a hindrance to people but should become a positive part of their daily lives.
Statistics he provided prove that Singapore was open to the idea of automation prior to the pandemic. Without a doubt, in this post-Covid era, deployment of AI and IA will go up leaps and bounds. Not just because of the sense of urgency to deal with the current pandemic but to also prepare for the next possible global crisis
Further, recent budget allocations and programmes in the country show that the nation continues to embrace the idea of AI and the fact that it will play a critical part in the recovery of the economy in the long-term.
Not surprisingly, only 1/8 of the world’s governments have not implemented some form of digital transformation. Contrarily, after much trial-and-error by agencies, some have found that AI and IA have not lived up to their promise. Known as AI quicksand, Ravi explained, this phenomenon is a function of premature experimental scaling – most often resulting in failure.
It was vital, Ravi opined, that delegates reflect on how to come together as a society and make organisations and governments settle on a common narrative essential to this transformation. Going further, Ravi added that innovation diffusion must start at the school level.
Ravi conceded that the public sector does not lack ideas, it lacks execution. They fear deploying initiatives in a wider, premeditated manner. Additionally, they do not have a democratised method of implementing procedures. Such constraints are what inhibits the public sector to meet the expectations that citizens and the public have today.
He stressed that AI and IA initiatives are not a competition between humans and robots. It is about scaling and evolution. Humans must continue what they know to scale and machines must also do the same depending on what is given to them. Humans naturally lead, create, judge and improvise, while machines transact and scale, predict and scale and then evolve. The missing element or efficiency is what is being endeavoured in a human-machines alliance. Humans enable machines and machines augment human beings.
Ravi closed his presentation by saying that the key piece is not what is being done as data scientists, engineers or digital transformation heads. The critical area is for organisations to determine the missing middle area in this human-machine alliance by distinguishing the roles of humans as well as the roles of machines within the organisation.
Utilising AI and Intelligent Automation in crises
Following Ravi’s presentation, Pascale Fung, Director, Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAiRE), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) shared her perspectives on the discussion at hand.
She started by talking about the many initiatives that the Hong Kong Government has launched such as the promotion of masks, lockdowns, testing, contact tracing and vaccination. HKUST has been at the forefront of innovation for pandemic control measures.
To help governments to persuade the public of the efficacy of mask-wearing, they developed a visualisation tool illustrating the positive effect of mask-wearing and stopping the spread of the virus. To help scientists accelerate vaccine development, they also created a data-analytics tool for vaccines to match the virus’ sequences for worldwide access.
They also have a fast COVID-19 testing kit, providing results in record time, which is the first-ever in the world. A contact tracing app quarantine was implemented with their support.
A more complex area to address was mental well being. Due to the prolonged quarantine and isolation measure, citizens’ mental health has been of much concern – not only in Hong Kong but across the world. To address this, they designed an AI-driven virtual assistant to talk to citizens in isolation to gauge mental health, deep learning and respond with empathy. Their AI component helps people in quarantine to connect with others.
As a closing challenging, she exhorted the government executives to make use of available tech such as AI and intelligent automation to fight COVID-19 and manage its aftermath.
Polling questions and discussion
After the engaging and informative presentations by the speakers, the session transitioned to an interactive discussion with polling questions. The first question dealt with what the primary objective of AI and IA strategies were for the delegates.
Over 65% of the delegates said that business process enhancement is their primary objective. According to one of the directors from JTC Corporation, they are still in the early stages of their AI journey and they are in the process of enhancing the functionality of their work using these technologies.
A delegate from the Ministry of Health said that cost reduction is at the helm of their priorities because of the rising healthcare costs during the pandemic. The GovTech Singapore representative said that applying AI and IA is a journey that requires financial capacities to extract value from its usage. They too felt that finding the right partner is a challenge. Lastly is their mindset towards utilising the technologies.
The next polling inquired about the organisations’ target for the contribution of AI to their process efficiencies. More than half of the delegates (55%) said there is no real target as they are in their early stages in the journey but they are trying to improve the usage of AI. Just under a quarter of the participants confirmed that 15%-30% of their process will be efficient because of AI.
The audience next discussed the challenges they encounter when using AI and automation. About 87% of the delegates say that the lack of properly skilled teams is the most common challenge in implementing AI strategies.
Ravi agreed that not knowing your data when using AI is a problem. The industry should be helping agencies from a data gathering and understanding perspective. One participant from the health sector said while data is available, the task of harmonising the data throughout the organisation and different institutions is challenging, along with the scaling of administrative and clinical processes.
Ravi acknowledged the humans tend to gravitate to what is urgently needed. He also noted that a partnership between the right service provider and an agency is the key element of a smart relationship.
Just under half (45%) of the delegates say that crowdsourcing from employees and customers is the way to go in terms of how organisations should gather ideas for applying emerging AI tech in new ways to solve business problems.
The session ended with the closing remarks by Ravi Bedi. He emphasised the crux of the issue – people are the beneficiaries of AI and IA.
If feedback can be institutionalised and involve the citizens more comprehensively, it will be better for the entire process. He agreed that guidance should start from the institutions and ministries. However, to scale and democratise the use of AI and Intelligent Automation, agencies must understand that partnership with experts is the way forward. This will help crystalise roles that will be vital in their journey towards automation.
He invited the delegates to reach out to their team for advice and to explore ways they could collaborate on their AI/IA journey.
A tech firm operating under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that it has launched new solutions which are now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
Solution description – factory-terminated optical fibre tip-to-tip network infrastructure cabling for offices and data centres
Thanks to fibre optics, invented in the firm’s lab in 1970, enormous amounts of data, phone calls and video can move around the planet. That movement of data has, in turn, enabled innovation after innovation, including the internet, cloud, mobile boom, streaming TV, autonomous cars, bitcoin, AI – and whatever comes next.
The firm’s solutions create an optical fibre tip-to-tip solution for LAN and data centres consisting of housings, modules, panels, trunks, harnesses, and jumpers. IT operators have an exhaustive list of desirable parameters they employ to ensure their facilities’ smooth and efficient operation the firm strives to exceed their expectations.
The company interviewed over 3,000 operators, and the outcome remained the same – the infrastructure must be reliable, high-quality, flexible, manageable, scalable, and visible to support a 24/7 year-round operation without question.
The tech firm’s award-winning EDGE™ solutions are high-density pre-terminated optical cabling solutions that simplify installation and improve performance in the office LAN and data centre environment. EDGE solutions provide increased system density when compared to traditional pre-terminated systems and offer the highest port density in the market.
The firm’s ClearCurve® bend-optimized optical fibre is the core element ensuring reliability when designing custom-engineered components thanks to its significant reduction in macro-bend loss even in the most challenging bend scenarios.
This technology enables the company to provide significantly greater density across the range combined with simple design and integration for LAN and SAN areas of cabling infrastructure. Infrastructure performance management is a traffic monitoring method being transmitted and received along with a link in a network providing real-time visibility.
This method can be done actively through electronic devices that can replicate and send the link’s data to the monitoring device (also called mirroring or spanning). Alternatively, it can be done through passive optical taps or port taps, transmitting all the data to the intended recipient and a monitoring device simultaneously. It can also filter the data and send it to various software tools for analytics, where it is then sent to an application-layer software for use by network administrators.
All EDGE solutions products, except TAP modules and 24-fibre MTP® single-mode assemblies, are manufactured with the firm’s proprietary CleanAdvantage™ technology, a new cleaning process implemented at the factory that uses residue-free cleaning fluids.
The firm’s proprietary nozzle design enables a focused and directed spray to the end-face, virtually cleaning the entire ferrule. All CleanAdvantage products are also shipped with optimized dust caps engineered to maintain the end-face cleanliness until the first mating connection. CleanAdvantage eliminates the need for scoping and cleaning before the initial field connection, reducing installation time and cost.
The solution was developed to be applied across the areas of City Management, Commerce and Industry, Environment, Finance, Housing, Infrastructure, Recreation and Culture as well as Transport.
The solution employs Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Mobile Technologies and Virtual Reality.
The company’s EDGE factory-terminated solutions have been deployed by finance institutes, technologies enterprise and government in the global marketplace.
The factory-terminated tip-to-tip optical fibre components allow for reduced installation time and faster moves, adds, and changes (MACs). Corning factory-terminated solutions provide improved system performance, ensure component compatibility, and yield consistently high quality.
EDGE solutions consist of an extensive range of housings, trunks, modules, adapter panels, harnesses, patch cords, and accessories for extended flexibility. The universally-wired modular system components provide simplistic management for quick-and-easy networking MACs with none of the polarity concerns associated with special polarity-compensating components.
The deployment of a scalable optical connectivity solution allows infrastructure to meet current and future data rates’ requirements. Scalability enables the physical expansion of the cabling infrastructure to additional servers, switches, or storage devices and flexibility to the infrastructure to support a migration path for increasing data rates.
As technology evolves and standards are completed to define data rates such as 40/100/400G Ethernet, Fibre Channel (32G and beyond), and InfiniBand (40G and beyond), the cabling infrastructures installed today must provide scalability to accommodate the need for more bandwidth in support of future applications.
Since 1987 the Edison Awards have recognised and honoured some of the most innovative new products and services as well as business leaders from around the world and recently announced this year’s winners.
Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) collected two awards under the support of the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). With these accolades, ITRI has delivered again with MetabColor as well as the AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Delivery System.
The ITRI is a government-funded applied technology research institute with more than 6,000 employees. ITRI’s AI-Based High-Density Shuttle Rack Service System wins a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The institute also took home a silver award for its MetabColor microbial textile dyes produced via a non-toxic, environmentally friendly and renewable process.
The Director-General of DoIT stated that it was no easy thing that ITRI’s AI technology won a gold medal in the Innovative Services, AI Applications category. The automated vertical warehousing system is developed for space-starved cities and the rack can be 14 stories high, saving at least twice as much space storage. Moreover, ITRI has been working with several companies to develop AI technology. The AI-based warehousing system optimises logistics efficiency to meet the increasing needs of e-commerce, cutting shipping time by 60% and helping to increase logistics performance during peak season.
The silver winner, MetabColor, uses modified microbes and the fermentation, separation, and purification processes to create natural dyes that are more environmentally friendly than chemical dyes. ITRI has been cooperating with leaders in textile manufacturing and speciality chemicals on the preliminary verification of the technology.
ITRI President also stated that the honour demonstrates that the institute’s technological vision aligns with top global trends. ITRI will continue collaborating with industry leaders to offer efficient solutions aimed at minimising environmental impact while ensuring Taiwan is an integral part of green global supply chains. He also pointed out that the Edison Awards focus on the “real-world applications” of innovative R&D results. Winning two awards is a big achievement for their R&D teams.
2030 Technology Strategy and Roadmap
To innovate a better future, ITRI has drawn up its 2030 Technology Strategy and Roadmap, in which it enhances the development of “intelligentisation” enabling technologies and focuses on three application domains: Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment. The Institute strives to use technological innovation to shape new lifestyles, develop market-oriented solutions, and find uncontested spaces.
Digital transformation has become a driving force for global economic innovation. With the prevalence of IoT and AI, people are seeking a faster, easier, and smarter life with the introduction of intelligent devices/services and new business models.
Therefore ITRI is developing personalised devices and services, autonomous mobility systems, and smart industries and services for the Smart Living domain. ITRI is also working on human-machine interaction, enhanced imaging and perception systems, autonomous decision-making and control, and smart business technologies and services.
As many countries are moving towards hyper-aged societies, demands for medical personnel and healthcare resources are increasing. New business opportunities in the emerging diagnosis and treatment market are also created through integrated solutions that include smart long-term care systems, personalised/precision medicine, and healthcare models.
In the domain of Quality Health, ITRI leverages Taiwan’s strengths in ICT and medical care systems to develop smart medical and healthcare technologies. The R&D scope includes smart medical electronics, regenerative medicine, wearable devices, digital healthcare services, and many more.
Due to the current climate change, greenhouse effects, and limited energy sources and resources, how to coexist with Mother Nature has become an important issue when developing new technologies. A sustainable environment can be maintained by creating a circular ecosystem, cutting downtime and energy-consuming production processes, and discovering green energy sources.
ITRI is thereby enhancing the technology development in the circular economy, smart manufacturing, and green energy and environment fields by exploring high-value circular materials, smart manufacturing systems, and supply chain management to achieve ecological symbiosis.
As the pandemic propels restaurants and other businesses to keep their distance from customers, a Shanghai-based robotics firm looks to bring its automated helpers to Singapore and other markets across the globe. The robotic servers wait by the kitchen for meals to come out. Staffers load them up and tell them which tables to go to via touchscreen. Then they roll off, deftly avoiding obstacles in their way.
The AI company focuses on indoor intelligent service robot, in the field of indoor autonomous d and providing intelligent unmanned delivery solutions. They have developed a variety of commercial service robots to meet different customers requirement. Their products are mainly applied in fields such as catering, medical care, hotels, entertainment, retail, venues, government affairs, offices, real estate, communities, banking, posts, finance, insurance, airports, stations, etc.
The robots’ features are the following:
- Touch sensor. The robot can return quickly with a single tap
- UI that makes the human-robot interaction more friendly
- Smart voice recognition receives users ‘orders accurately and gives response quickly
- An infrared perception system that detects the status of goods in the pallet, the robot returns automatically as quickly as humans and help customers take away the empty disks
The robots are also equipped with an autonomous localisation and navigation feature. The multi-sensor fusion technology, based on LIDAR, machine vision, depth senor, etc., that can locate and navigate precisely. It can run smoothly and stably indoors even in a complex environment. The tech also has a vivid expression show that is based on an AI interactive engine, several bionic and vivid expression packages can be customised. The human-like emotions as happy, angry, sorrow etc., making communication more interesting.
Lastly, it has a multi robots collaboration programme. With a planning system, multiple robots can cooperate smoothly in the same working environment, elevating efficiency,
The tech company shared that they are responsible for roughly 85% of food-serving robots ever sold in China. The country has been a pioneer in service robots, thanks partly to relatively relaxed regulation that benefits budding businesses, and it already uses robots commercially in such fields as food delivery and security.
Production capacity was roughly doubled in 2020 to prepare for overseas expansion. The tech company stated that their factories all have extra space, and they plan to increase capacity to up to 200,000 units.
The tech has also gotten a big boost from the push to minimise the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. Its unit sales likely more than tripled to over 10,000 in 2020. Sales of service robots were to increase 34% to USD 2.94 billion in China in 2020, roughly twice as fast as for the world, according to one industry forecast.
The tech company and developer aim to have local units set up in at least 10 countries by the end of 2021. It opened a Japan arm in March with just under 10 staffers and is looking at South Korea and Singapore, as well as markets in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
However, challenges are still at hand. While the developer is a relatively well-known company at home, it has little name recognition abroad. Clients appear more concerned about features than the price at this point. Many foreign markets also tend to focus heavily on the quality of customer service, meaning that robots and other automated solutions might not gain much traction among consumers seeking a more conventional experience.
Spyfish Aotearoa, a collaboration between a charitable organisation applying artificial intelligence (AI) to conservation and the Department of Conservation (DoC), allows ocean enthusiasts to get directly involved in scientific research.
By analysing 10-second video clips on the Spyfish website, all taken from monitoring surveys DoC undertakes each year in New Zealand’s marine reserves, volunteers can identify and count the species of fish they see. If the user is not over-familiar with native fauna, there is a chat function available to connect with the experts who are.
The surveys let the DoC estimate how abundant some types of fish are in the country’s reserves, such as blue cod, snapper, some species of sharks, and many more. It is a way to tell how well the marine reserves are doing at protecting these species.
However, identifying and counting species in the videos is time-consuming, especially for a single person. The Spyfish Aotearoa is being used to train AI software so in the future videos can be automatically analysed to identify and count the species. Using machine learning will save a huge amount of time and resources and produce data that can be used almost immediately.
According to the DoC, making the most of the opportunities provided by AI will greatly improve marine conservation outcomes for the future and bring the country further down in the path towards thriving oceans. Along the way, people in Aotearoa and overseas will be able to see and learn more about the species in New Zealand’s marine reserves, while contributing directly to marine conservation.
According to reports, anchored by the Resource Management Act, New Zealand’s government has declared its desire to follow sustainable development principles in its economic, social and environmental policies. In 2009, the Act was revised to simplify regulations and reduce costly delays for developers and investors while sustaining necessary ecological protections, resulting in quicker processing and better compliance. But according to research, restoring New Zealand’s waterways could take “hundreds of years” at the current rate of progress.
New Zealand is also socially and politically at the forefront of international climate issues, as illustrated by its adoption of a progressive carbon-trading scheme. The country is also making signs it wants to boost its start-up ecosystem – particularly when it comes to clean technology. Environment and climate-related technologies are improving. New Zealand is a world leader in research on reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. It has a well-developed and skilled eco-innovation system.
Another report said that New Zealand is ripe for a cleantech revolution and noted countries that put significant resources into supporting cleantech innovation are rewarded with more emerging and commercialised cleantech companies.
In 2016, the government has taken measures aimed to help New Zealand green its economy and improve its environmental governance and management, with particular emphasis on water resources management and sustainable urban development. New Zealand is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The 2017 OECD Environmental Performance Reviews state that New Zealand is among the most energy-intensive economies.
New Zealand’s reputation as a ‘green’ country, both as a tourist destination and as a producer of natural and safe foods, needs to be upheld. Therefore, the government of New Zealand has taken numerous steps to conserve the country’s indigenous biodiversity. New Zealand’s Biodiversity Strategy has called for greater education and involvement at the local level, strengthening of partnerships with people regarding conservation of genetic diversity, and maintaining and enhancing natural habitats.
National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) is collaborating with the U.S.- based Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution provider to develop the first-ever AI-powered tumour auto-contouring solution. To treat brain cancer, doctors must first precisely map out where the tumours are in the brain, in a process called contouring.
Using traditional manual contouring takes several hours, while the AI device can shorten the process to just a few minutes. It ensures precision mapping of brain tumours with closer cuts and the ability to identify additional lesions that may be missed by the human eye.
NTUH has been used the AI device for the past 18 months as part of clinical trials and helped doctors treat more than 100 patients with brain tumours, including a terminally ill woman whose lung cancer metastasised to her brain.
A doctor and researcher from NTUH said that he had successfully identified nine tumours in the female patient based on her imaging testing, but the AI device later detected two more. As a result, the patient received radiation therapy targeting the 11 tumours, saving her both time and money spent on a second treatment in the event the two tumours were not initially identified.
An oncologist and researcher from NTUH said that 10% of tiny brain tumours, mostly malicious brain metastases, can be missed with manual contouring. He also estimated that using the AI device cuts the time spent on tumour contouring by 50%, which enables patients to receive the treatment they need as soon as possible.
The director of the NTUH Department of Oncology said with the AI device, even tiny tumours can be treated precisely thereby ensuring patients experience fewer side effects. In addition, it also means doctors have time to help additional patients or engage in more discussions with existing patients
According to a page, The AI device has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the first time the FDA has cleared an AI device for tumour auto-contouring in radiation therapy. Devices to receive FDA clearance before are specific to normal organ auto-contouring.
The research on this AI device has been published in the world’s leading medical journal. The researchers conducted a randomised, cross-modal, multi-reader, multi-speciality, multi-case study to evaluate the impact of AI device on brain tumour (Stereotactic Radiosurgery) SRS.
A state-of-the-art auto-contouring algorithm, built on multi-modality imaging and ensemble neural networks, was integrated into the clinical workflow. Nine medical professionals contoured the same case series in two reader modes (assisted or unassisted) with a memory washout period of 6 weeks between each section.
The case series consisted of ten algorithm-unseen cases, including five cases of brain metastases, three of meningiomas and two of acoustic neuromas. Among the nine readers, three experienced experts determined the ground truths of tumour contours.
The clinical findings indicated clinicians assisted by VBrain demonstrated 12.2% higher sensitivity for lesion detection, and less experienced clinicians improved contouring accuracy with the added help. The efficiency in AI device also decreased treatment planning time at a median of 30.8%.
Less-experienced clinicians gained prominent improvement on contouring accuracy but less benefit in reduction of working hours. By contrast, SRS specialists had a relatively minor advantage in DSC, but greater timesaving with the aid of AI.
CEO of the U.S. AI solution provider said that he was thrilled to bring the AI device to their partners across the U.S. and Taiwan. Receiving unique FDA clearance for this solution allows the company to further its commitment to transforming radiotherapy workflows through developing full-body auto-contouring solutions. The future of AI is near, bringing a second set of eyes and hands to assist clinicians in analysing and segmenting medical scans and further improving patient cancer care.
The Philippines’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the national artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap which made the Philippines one of the first 50 countries in the world to have a national strategy and policy on AI.
The DTI said that AI adoption can increase Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) by 12% by 2030, or equivalent to US$92 billion based on research estimates. The agency added that the AI roadmap aims to accelerate the adoption and utilisation of AI in the country to advance industrial development, generate better quality entrepreneurship, and higher-paying opportunities for Filipinos. Through the AI roadmap, they hope to establish the Philippines as an AI Centre for Excellence in the region that is backed by a local talent pool and vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
As the country aims to be an AI powerhouse in the region, the roadmap will establish the private sector-led National Centre for AI Research (NCAIR) which will serve as a shared hub for AI research. Also, the agency stated that the AI roadmap would help the country to be a hub for data processing providing high-value data analytics and AI services to the world given the country’s strong business process management sector.
Among the applications of AI are in real estate, banking and financial services, surveillance, retail and e-commerce, education, space exploration, agribusiness, urban planning, manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics and transportation.AI would also help government services become more efficient, said the agency.
With the launching of the AI roadmap, the DTI targets to guide the use of AI to maintain the regional and global competitiveness of local industries; and identify key areas, in both research and development and technology application, for investing time and resources of government, industry, and broader society. It also aims to recommend ways for effectively fostering a triple-helix of research and development (R&D) collaboration among government, industry, and academe, which would be essential to national development; put forward approaches for preparing the future workforce for the jobs of the future; and attract the biggest industries to set shop in the country, which would generate more jobs for Filipinos.
The agency emphasised that AI is a vital innovation amid the COVID-19 pandemic where human-to-human interaction should be limited. AI can also be used in contact tracing, health assessment and monitoring, knowledge management, and addressing supply chain issues. While there is this fear that AI will automate so many jobs that millions of Filipinos might find themselves unemployed, this fear should instead be viewed as opportunities for new possibilities. The structure of the workforce will change. Newer, better, and higher-income jobs will emerge. AI will also allow the country to create a knowledge-based economy, which we can leverage to create a more inclusive and prosperous society.
The rapid adoption of digital technologies can help the Philippines overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, recover from the crisis, and achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class society free of poverty, according to a report released by the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
However, the use of digital technologies in the Philippines is still below its potential, with the country’s digital adoption generally trailing behind many regional neighbours. The “digital divide” between those with and without the internet leads to unequal access to social services and life-changing economic opportunities.
In this society-wide digital transformation, the government can take the lead by speeding up e-governance projects, such as the foundational identification system and the digitisation of its processes and procedures, which will help promote greater inclusion, improve efficiency, and enhance security. The government can take an active role in fostering policies that reduce the digital divide and create a more conducive business environment for the digital economy to flourish, said the report.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus in chest X-rays. The AI tool, ATMAN AI, was developed by DRDO’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), with support from 5C Network & HCG Academics.
Triaging using X-ray in COVID-19 diagnosis is a method for the rapid identification and assessment of the lungs, according to a statement issued by HCG Academics. The tool will be used by 5C Network, the country’s largest digital network of radiologists, with the support of HCG Academics. Triaging potential patients using X-ray is fast, cost-effective, and efficient.
The statement claimed that ATMAN is a useful tool especially in smaller towns in the country, owing to a lack of access to CT scans. The technology will also reduce the existing burden on radiologists and free up CT machines for other diseases and illnesses. The statement said that the feature Believable AI, along with existing ResNet models, has improved the accuracy of the software, and being a machine learning tool, the degree of accuracy will improve continually. The algorithm showed an accuracy of 96.73%.
The chest X-rays of RT-PCR positive patients were retrospectively analysed in various stages of disease involvement using AI models (deep learning and convolutional neural network) from an application developed by CAIR-DRDO to screen COVID-19 using digital chest X-rays. The development of ATMAN as an AI-based diagnostic tool for the virus is part of DRDO’s effort to help clinicians and partners on the frontline to have the tools they need to rapidly diagnose and effectively treat COVID-19 patients.
Given the limited testing facilities for the virus, there is a rush to develop AI tools for quick analysis using X-rays. The tool would help in automatically detecting radiological findings indicative of COVID-19 in seconds, enabling physicians and radiologists to triage the cases more effectively, especially in an emergency.
The CEO of 5C network, Kalyan Sivasailam, noted that utilising the algorithms for chest X-ray is an effective triaging tool, which can be “accessible to the common man in remotest districts of this country.” Dr Vishal Rao, Dean Academics, Centre of Academic Research, HCG Cancer Hospital said the new tool would improve efficacy in hospitals “without increasing the financial burden for patients and healthcare systems.” He added that similar methods would also become useful in assessing predominant respiratory diseases.
It is expected to have a significant impact on timely care and appropriate treatment. With the ongoing second wave of infections, this application can help with a more directed and focused approach, the statement said. 5C Network, which is connected to over 1,000 hospitals across the country, will make ATMAN available to state-run and private hospitals.
Last month, DRDO announced it would set up 500 medical oxygen plants in the country under the Prime Minister CARES fund programme. Medical oxygen plant (MOP) technology was developed to supply oxygen onboard the light combat aircraft (LCA) by the Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL).
The MOP is designed for a capacity of 1,000 litres per minute (LPM). The system can cater to 190 patients at a flow rate of 5 LPM and charge 195 cylinders per day. As OpenGov Asia had reported, the technology can generate oxygen with around 93% concentration and can be directly supplied to hospital beds or used to fill medical oxygen cylinders.