Big data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence have great potential to have a huge transformative impact in the public sector. Governments have access to tremendous amounts of data and their operations affect everyone in small and big ways every day.
As Malaysia accelerates its digitalisation efforts through its MyDigital strategy, data will only become a more precious commodity. Having a robust data and AI strategy in place will help the public sector better harness the power of data.
It is no secret that rich data catalyses AI and that the government has the most and best data. Yet, AI adoption among government entities appears to be uneven and generally lags behind the private sector. Albeit, for some, there are entire departments or pockets within departments, where adoption is robust, advanced and successful.
Public sector agencies struggle to unlock the value of their data due to outdated legacy systems and limited analytics capabilities – being data-rich but insight-poor. Public sector agencies require a multifaceted approach, including the ability to quickly integrate new data, make accurate, multilevel forecasts and provide data-driven insights for policymakers.
With big data catching on, Malaysia is heavily invested in accelerating Big Data Analytics (BDA) adoption and innovation within the country. BDA is central to Malaysia’s digital economy, resulting in the growth of other digital technologies, such as AI, IoT and advanced automation.
The government is pushing for Malaysia to become a BDA hub in ASEAN and has taken initiatives for Big Data Innovation Centres of Excellence. Malaysia is one of the very few countries in the world with a structured national Big Data Analytics initiative.
The National Big Data Analytics Centre (NBDAC) has been established to support the Government’s aspirations in ensuring every planning and decision-making is based on data analytics and in line with the Digital Government and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) initiatives.
Today’s unprecedented speed of technological change has shifted people’s expectations of public services. Citizens are demanding high-speed, efficient and readily accessible service on their terms. MyDigital outlines the objective of achieving 80% end-to-end online government services. To achieve this, the government has been fast-tracking its digitalisation goals.
Governments are expected to modernise and streamline the way citizens access public services. BDA endeavours to tap on innovative technologies, creating personalised services and laying the right foundation will be key.
The time has come for agencies to leverage 5G to transform public services, elevate citizen experience and accelerate productivity. Government agencies are looking seek to deliver quality services in increasingly dynamic and complex environments. However, outdated infrastructure and a shortage of systems that collect and use massive real-time data, make it challenging for the agencies to fulfil their mission.
Governments have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to transform public services using the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) to provide situations specific and real-time data, which can improve decision-making and optimise operational effectiveness.
5G networks will play a huge role and help in delivering AIoT effectively and efficiently in shaping the future of digital Malaysia.
AIoT and IoT Analytics can help gain real-time situational awareness that enables enhanced emergency preparedness, swift response and proactive communications designed to reduce devastating impacts on citizens and property.
The government, through MyDIGITAL, is shifting towards a Cloud-First strategy, targeting the migration of 80% of public data to a hybrid cloud system by the end of 2022.
The shift towards a Cloud-First strategy by the government is a welcomed and timely move. There is a broad range of advantages and efficacies linked to the shifting of public sector services into the Cloud.
Thanks to its ability to handle large volumes of information, Cloud services will enhance the efficiency of data collection and management as well as enable advanced technologies to be used to strengthen the delivery of government services to all Malaysians.
This points to several questions
- What are the biggest untapped opportunities for big data analytics and AI adoption in government?
- What obstacles and challenges unique to the government are most important to understand today to ensure progress tomorrow?
- How can agencies harness the power of 5G technology and deliver innovative IoT, AI, and ML capabilities?
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 25 March 2022 is aimed at imparting knowledge on how government agencies can accelerate, innovate and transform their advanced analytics capabilities into the cloud, make data an integral part of their decision making, harness 5G technologies and adopt AIoT to better serve the citizens.
Harnessing insights to deliver better citizen experience
Kicking off the session, Mohit acknowledges that MyDigital is a vital vision document and government mandate. However, in practice, organisations must understand it, digest it and break it down into milestones.
When the government would like to deliver their mandates, the implementation does not happen right away because people might not know how to deliver them.
Hybrid cloud has become more prominent and data is always needed to generate insights and intelligence. The exigencies of responding to the pandemic have forced many organisations to turn to band-aid technology.
Now that the dust has settled, he urges organisations to take a deeper look at ways to fundamentally transform operations and leverage on insights. That includes transforming culture and people.
5G empowers organisations to acquire data in real-time, but without turning data into intelligence it is not useful. Organisations need to understand what is required during the transformation journey. Prediction requires more than just intelligence.
He believes that SAS has the expertise from helping governments all over the world become more effective in their delivery of public services.
Closing his address, he strongly recommends delegates look for specialists to partner with instead of doing everything on their own.
“Let the experts do what they do best,” Mohit says. “It not only allows the best systems and infrastructure to be put in place but also frees up the organisation’s staff to concentrate on the actual delivery of services!”
Digital transformation through AI
Speaking next, Nik Ariff Nik Omar, Director of Public Services, GLCs and Telco Sales, SAS Malaysia introduced the company as an organisation with a niche in data analytics and AI. SAS is highly rated for its vision and execution of data analytics.
SAS has strong testimonies from governments All over the world where AI has been deployed in various industries, ranging from health to education.
Citing ways in which SAS will be able to help, Nick highlights several areas for partnership.
- Big data analytics initiatives
- 5G commercialisation
- Investigation management
- Cloud modernisation
In closing, Nick asserts that there is an urgent need for governments to stay relevant and nimble in their ability to deliver citizen services and respond to crises. Insights generated by AI can help to free up resources within the government, which can be allocated to other areas of government service.
Capitalising AI adoption to transform public sector services
Dr Steve Bennett, Director, Global Government Practice, SAS, spoke about the different challenges and success in AI for government applications.
Dr Steve shares that the practice of using data to make better decisions was pioneered in government in WWII, giving rise to operations research, defined as “A scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding the operations under their control”.
Today, using data to make better decisions may be identified as Artificial Intelligence, which supports better decisions by training systems to emulate specific human tasks through learning and automation.
Dr Steve observes that AI is an increasing priority for the government and the top trends include:
- Securing trust in public institutions
- Investigative missions
- Economic and revenue stability under uncertainty
- Integrated data for integrated decision making
- Workforce optimisation
He points out several opportunities where AI can make a real difference in the public sector. In public health and safety, AI has been used for disaster response in the Philippines to determine the areas that required disaster response. In Australia, the government is working with SAS to increase the investigative efficiency of the police force. Technologies that help to link cases through AI are helping them close cases faster.
It is also extensively used to reduce judicial case delays by determining the cases that should be assigned to which types of courts, which has allowed the judicial process to speed up. In Spain, SAS is working with the police to apply AI to case records to effectively assign protection for women.
In health, AI has been used to promote public health in India, improve cancer outcomes through better decision making in Amsterdam, keep the U.S. food supply safe and make COVID-19 outbreak predictions that result in targeted policy-making decisions.
In summary, Dr Steve reiterates that the complex problems of today herald a time of change. To stay relevant and efficient to citizens, government agencies need to understand the benefits and considerations of using technology and harness it accordingly.
Modernising the delivery of services through digital transformation
Mike Cunnington, Deputy Commissioner, Information and Intelligence Services, Inland Revenue, New Zealand spoke next on Inland Revenue, New Zealand’s experience of utilising AI in taxation and the administration of pensions system and fund disbursement.
The journey towards the adoption of AI began with the realisation that the legacy system was not sufficient. Mike observes that it was not simply the technology change but more fundamentally about how people work. Part of that process involved taking on the viewpoint of the customer and re-engineering what Inland Revenue does.
Inland Revenue New Zealand has modernised the way they deliver services through an end-to-end digital transformation involving our customers, people, processes, policy and technology. Some of the changes and benefits include:
- Growing voluntary compliance by making it easier for people to get it right
- Reducing compliance costs
- Making government policy changes more quickly and more cost-effectively
Accordingly, Mike shared some of the guiding principles that shaped their decision-making process.
- Core design principles that endured: simple, certain, open
- Build a data-enabled system. Simplify processes and policies so that people will utilise the service.
- Buy, do not build; and configure, do not customise
- Partner with the market and work within the constructs of those systems.
- Fit processes seamlessly into people’s lives, ideally utilising their systems of choice
- Capitalise on software that people are naturally using.
To be digital-enabled, organisations need to have data and know when to use it to generate insights that are then used for decision making, Mike opines. Accordingly, he shared what analytics may look like at the core.
- Consolidated data (deep and wide) on a single data platform supporting repeatable and accelerated analytical delivery with high re-use
- New data sources loaded into production within days not weeks. Commonly used data is refined and presented for rapid consumption. Data quality is centrally managed, reported on and actioned.
- Data empowerment through integrated analytical data and shared models accessible by the business to drive policy, strategy, and operational activities
- Rapid development of insights with rich base and analytical data where hypotheses can be discarded, further refined or promoted rapidly – where complexity is layered over time rather than ‘all-at-once’
- Courage to challenge the status quo, foster dialogue, and inquiry with the business around analytics (and where value resides in analytical effort) and iterate and change analytical practices for the better
For agencies to harness insights, Mike believes that they must change the way they work. It is critical if organisations want to move analytics from operational practice to a strategic tool that can inform policy and decision-making.
Some of the key insights from the use of AI from Inland Revenue’s experience are:
- Intelligence-led is a way of operating that sees IR making full use of the data and information it collects, holds, and distributes, along with the knowledge its people have and grow, to generate insights that drive the decisions that we make.
- Decisions are automated and scaled to enable personalised interactions and proactive risk-based interventions.
- Work flows to the appropriate available skilled people.
- Through improved understanding of the collective knowledge, paired with improved content and search capability, we can better aid customers to self-serve, and IR people to more effectively serve customers and government.
- The insights generated must be focussed on helping solve identified business problems or opportunities – deliver value quickly.
In closing, Mike believes that there are tremendous benefits to be yielded in the adoption of AI. The right application of AI can transform the way people interact with the government and vastly improve the experience of users.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
In the first poll, delegates were asked about the areas that have been allocated a budget in 2022. The majority (42%) have budgets allocated to the digitalisation of processes to deliver better or ‘Smart’ services. The remaining delegates have budgets allocation to data-driven initiatives such as Big Data/Data Lake (20%), enhancing or adopting AI and Analytics for improving outcomes through forecasting, prediction, and optimisation (15%), embracing Cloud technology, be it public or private (15%) and improving integrity and governance whilst reducing inefficiency (8%)
While some are focused on processes of digitalisation, other delegates shared that they are deploying their system on cloud to save resources. Another delegate revealed that his organisation is focused on data-driven initiatives because data is not centralised and often wrong.
Mohit opined that data is not necessarily inaccurate or incorrect because of people but because the data was wrong to begin with.
Dr Steve added that fraud is not always intentional but due to improper payment or benefits delivery – it could be a mistake or a wrong assignment. He shared that AI could help pick that up and ensure that benefits go to the right people in government service. He echoed Mike’s point that beyond the technology, there need to be processes in place that drive decision-making that can turn insights into practices in the operational pipeline.
Mike added that government rules are complicated, and data can help to simplify the rules by taking on the hard work.
Mohit said, from surveys done by OpenGov in the early days of the pandemic, Singapore was experiencing misappropriation/misallocation of funds not because of fraud but because data was wrong. That came to light only because AI was utilised in picking up information about households that were getting the wrong fund allocations.
The next poll inquired on the biggest challenge delegates faced in achieving the objectives stated in the first poll. A third (33%) felt hampered by the lack of skillsets and understanding of technology and the same number (33%) was hindered by the limited budget allocated that resulted in reducing prioritised requirements. About a quarter (26%) faced issues in data and governance constraints (e.g., data privacy, etc.), while the rest of the delegates were equally constrained by business and use-case definition and justification (4%) or were in the process of awaiting clear guidelines on the implementation (4%).
A delegate said the lack of skillsets and limitation of the budget were the main challenges he faced. People need to be upgraded at a fast pace. At the same time, acquiring more budget is a difficult process.
To that, Mohit acknowledged that innovation often takes a back seat due to tight budgets in many organisations. However, he points out that when AI is utilised to generate insights, organisations can find out where money can be saved.
For Mike, the process of convincing the organisation about AI adoption is not an easy one. He suggests the importance of demonstrating small successes that can be brought back to the organisation to build momentum.
Mohit added that it is important to change the way organisations work – it needs to be agile and in quick cycles. Apart from that, he strongly advised delegates not to build capacities in-house when they do not have the skillset internally.
From his experience, Mike champions partnerships because partners have systems that can be configured to the needs of organisations. One of the perks includes the upgrades that the partners will do on an annual basis and the continuous innovation that are incorporated into the software.
When asked about the minimum analytics capability that delegates would want to achieve in 2022, most (63%) want to be able to provide reporting, dashboards (Business Intelligence) for operations and management. The remaining delegates want to be able to forecast trends and patterns (25%), analyse and explore data to understand the current situation (4%), predict outcomes (e.g., flood, etc.) (4%) and optimise and improve outcomes (e.g., allocation of resources) (4%).
Dr Steve commented that the options reflect the journey that organisations take when adopting new processes of data analytics. It is an effective way to take stock of where organisations are at in that journey.
“It is a journey,” Mohit claims, and as organisations grow in knowledge and capability, people will become more confident in data analytics
In the final poll, delegates were asked about their criterion for considering advanced analytics as a success in their organisation. Over a third (39%) indicated that effective dashboard reporting for better, faster and cost-effective decision making is their criterion for success. Other delegates have different yardsticks – users can do analytics without IT’s help (31%), data accuracy and ability to drill up to every detail (17%), being able to get analytics reports promptly (9%) or real-time updates (4%)
Mohit believes that government should not build applications and instead partner with vendors who have the expertise and competencies to elevate government services.
Nick thanked everyone for the insightful discussion and presentation. He shared that the process of adopting AI is a journey and acknowledged the challenges that delegates face. He commented that when the maturity of an organisation is at an early stage, delegates could focus on starting small in the organisation to kick off the process of transformation.
As the proof of concept, when proposing Ai to their management, he suggests that delegates could leverage the many use cases articulated by Dr Steve. SAS’ success in helping Inland Revenue of New Zealand is a prime example of how AI adoption can vastly change processes and behaviour.
In closing, Nick emphasised the edge AI can offer organisations in their journey towards delivering better government services. He reiterated that the digital transformation is an ongoing and collaborative journey and encouraged the delegates to connect with him and the team to explore ways in which AI can help agencies improve their operations.
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has recently updated its platform known as Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service). The platform enables SMEs to self-assess their digital readiness and needs at any time and from any location, as well as access market-proven and cost-effective digital solutions and engage digital consultants for in-depth advisory and project management services.
This is for any business entity that wants to know how to start going digital, understand what type of solutions to adopt for its specific business challenge, or choose the solution that best meets its needs.
An enterprise can benefit from CTO-as-a-Service through:
- Conduct a self-evaluation of its digital readiness and pinpoint its gaps and needs in terms of digitalisation;
- Study other Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that have carried out digitalisation projects successfully;
- Receive digital solution suggestions based on the business’s needs and profile; and
- Evaluate the features and costs of various digital solutions.
There are more than 450 subsidised digital solutions available for selection, including those that address industry-specific or general business needs, as well as those that serve to streamline operations, increase business sales revenue, or ensure business resiliency.
The business can also work with digital consultants from the designated operators through CTO-as-a-Service, for digital advisory to assist:
- Seek a deeper comprehension of its business priorities and needs;
- Create training plans and digital solutions specifically for its businesses;
- Include fundamental data usage, protection, and cybersecurity risks in the digitalisation process.
The business may also ask digital consultants to assist with project managing the rollout of its digitalisation initiatives.
Eligible businesses can use digital advisory and project management services for free for the first time. Should the businesses want to keep using digital consultants, future usage or service enhancement will be based on commercial agreements.
Any company that satisfies the requirements below is qualified to use free project management and digital advisory services for the first time:
- Licensed and active in Singapore;
- A minimum of 30 per cent local shareholding;
- Enterprise’s group employment size is no more than 200 employees, or the group’s annual sales turnover is no more than S$100 million;
- Has never previously used CTO-as-a-Service digital consultants.
Meanwhile, SMEs are the backbone of Singapore’s economy. They employ two-thirds of the country’s workers and contribute almost half of Singapore’s GDP. Since digital technology is changing every part of Singapore’s economy, SMEs need to take advantage of digital technologies to grow and do well.
The SMEs Go Digital programme, which was started by the IMDA in April 2017, is meant to make going digital easy for SMEs. More than 80,000 SMEs have used the programme’s digital solutions.
Enterprises can also use advanced and integrated solutions to improve their capabilities, strengthen business continuity measures, and build longer-term resilience. Solutions that are supported by government agencies solve common problems at the enterprise level on a large scale, help enterprises adopt new technologies, and make it easier for enterprises to do business within or across sectors.
IMDA works with sector-led agencies and industry players to find advanced and integrated digital solutions that can be supported and are relevant to their sectors. Companies that want to use these solutions can check the IMDA website to find out when they can apply for each one.
Costs for hardware, software, infrastructure, connectivity, cybersecurity, integrations, development, improvement, and project management can be covered by funding support. With this, the agency has kept helping businesses, and the list of solutions that are supported will grow, with an emphasis on AI-enabled and cloud-based solutions.
Taiwan City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech demonstrated a series of cutting-edge AI applications. The lab exhibit advanced AI applications and their research and development results, such as the mobile robot, a AI robotic fish and Campus Rover.
The cross-disciplinary R&D and teaching laboratory aims to be a global technology and talent exchange platform. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Taipei Tech are coming together to jointly established City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech.
“Through developing advanced AI technology and big data system, we plan to make Taiwan the island of high-end technology,” said Yao Leehter, Taipei Tech Chair Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Yao indicated that Taipei Tech alums highly support the lab. The lab also collaborates with Kent Larson, the leader of MIT City Science Lab, the City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech aims to be an international platform for technology and talent exchange.
Taipei Tech adopts and jointly promotes with MIT to implement the Undergraduate Scientific Research Programme. Known as UROP, the programme provides sufficient resources for students and cultivates a new generation of scientific researchers. The collaboration was initially rolled out in 1969 by MIT’s first President, William Rogers.
For students to learn the most modern and state-of-the-art technology applications, the lab provides advanced equipment for R&D purposes, such as mobile robots. The agile, mobile robot can adapt to complex terrains and is equipped with LIDAR, infrared, and stereo vision sensors, which can draw 3D point cloud maps in real-time and detect and dodge obstacles. The mobile robot is used in decommissioned nuclear power plants, factories, construction sites, and offshore drilling oil platforms. Another mobile robot use case is for patrol, troubleshooting, and leak detection.
In addition, the lab also showcased its R&D results which are the AI robotic fish to the advanced instrumental equipment. The robotic fish is a streamlined robot designed to resemble a real fish. The fish robot comprehends and mimics the motion model of swimming fish through machine learning.
The robot can swim underwater in a simulated way. To perfectly mimic the fish movement, researchers have spent significant time collecting massive movement data from real fish, documenting, and analysing the swimming performance. Afterwards, they utilised AI technology and programme coding to control the motoric movement of the robotic fish.
The team then spent a year adjusting the robotic fish to make the swim movement look like a real fish. Machinery fish propulsion efficiency and excellent swimming performance are considered one of the most critical subjects in bionics.
“The robotic fish is useful for biological research and can also be used to carry out underwater operations and examine water quality,” said Yao.
Recently, the fish robot was involved in movie production. During the designing process, the production house team suggested adding a “cloth” on the fish with fish skin and fish scale to make it more lifelike. The company also came up with the idea to use a magnet to stick the fish scale on the body of the robotic fish. Taiwan Textile Research Institute and the local design research group joined the brainstorming and production process to finish the golden fish’s final look onscreen.
Moreover, The Campus Rover, developed by the team of Professor Yao in cooperation with the Taipei Tech Department of Industrial Design, demonstrated practical AI applications in real life. For example, campus or express hospital service can use the self-charging robot to ensure delivery safety.
Around 30,000 rural homes and communities will soon have access to faster and improved connectivity with an expansion of the Rural Capacity Upgrade programme. 21 new contracts have been signed by Crown Infrastructure partners to accelerate upgrades to towers and broadband connections in areas with poor coverage.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Rural Communities, Damien O’Connor, and the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark. This round of the Rural Capacity Upgrade will see many existing towers upgraded and new connections established in rural areas experiencing poor performance. Areas that will benefit from these improvements include, but are not limited to, settlements in the Far North, Gisborne, the Manawatu-Whanganui region, Taranaki, Southland, and Waikato.
The project is expected to significantly boost the economic productivity of homes and businesses with a slow, unreliable, or unusable connection, Clark noted. The government is committed to improving rural connectivity and is on track to see 99.8% of New Zealanders receive access to improved broadband because of the Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout, Rural Broadband Initiative, the Marae Digital Connectivity programme, and the Mobile Black Spot Fund by the end of 2023, he explained.
The investment in rural connectivity will work alongside Land Information NZ’s rollout of the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN) service. As OpenGov Asia had reported earlier, SouthPAN is the Southern Hemisphere’s first satellite navigation augmentation service. It will improve the availability and accuracy of positioning, taking it from 5-10 metres to as little as 10 centimetres across the country.
This will boost rural productivity through precision agriculture and horticulture, fenceless farming, and improve the safety of search and rescue in the backcountry. The government, along with private sector contributions, has invested more than $2.5 billion into improving digital connectivity to date.
The government has also released “Lifting Connectivity in Aotearoa”, which sets out the high-level connectivity vision for New Zealand over the next decade. This includes the goal that all New Zealanders have access to high-speed connectivity networks, and that the country is in the top 20% of nations with respect to international connectivity measures.
Last month, the government launched the Remote Users Scheme to provide broadband and connect New Zealand’s most remote communities. Clark had announced the scheme, noting that it would equip as many remote households as possible with the connectivity infrastructure needed to access broadband services. As reported on OpenGov Asia, the Remote Users Scheme will help connect people to online health services and educational tools. Through Budget 2022, $15 million was allocated towards funding the scheme, as part of the broader $60 million rural connectivity package announced earlier in the year.
The Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP), which was established by the government, will administer the Remote Users Scheme and is calling for applications from potentially eligible households and communities. A request for proposal from Internet service providers will follow. It is expected that new broadband connectivity infrastructure for the eligible areas and households can begin being built in mid-2023.
In a process that could be compared to travelling through a wormhole, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and other institutions sent quantum information across a quantum system. The Sycamore quantum processor device was used in this experiment, which pave the way for more quantum computer research into gravitational physics and string theory in the future.
Calculations from the experiment showed that qubits moved from one system of entangled particles to another in a model of gravity, even though this experiment didn’t produce a disruption of physical space and time in the sense that might understand the term “wormhole” from science fiction.
A wormhole connects two far-off regions of spacetime. Nothing is allowed to travel through the wormhole in the general theory of relativity. But in 2019, some scientists hypothesised that an entangled black hole-created wormhole might be passable.
By introducing a direct interaction between the distant spacetime regions and using a straightforward quantum dynamical system of fermions, physicists have discovered a quantum mechanism to make wormholes traversable. This type of “wormhole teleportation” was also created by researchers using entangled quantum systems, and the outcomes were confirmed using classical computers.
In this experiment, researchers used the Sycamore 53-qubit quantum processor to teleport a quantum state from one quantum system to another to send a signal “through the wormhole.” The research team had to find entangled quantum systems that behaved as predicted by quantum gravity while also being small enough to run on current-generation quantum computers.
Finding a simple enough many-body quantum system that maintains gravitational properties was a key challenge for this work. The team gradually reduced the connectivity of highly interacting quantum systems using machine learning (ML) techniques to accomplish this. Each example of a system with behaviour that is consistent with quantum gravity that emerged from this learning process only needed about 10 qubits, making it the ideal size for the Sycamore processor.
It was crucial to find such tiny examples because larger systems with hundreds of qubits would not have been able to function on the quantum platforms currently in use. The team observed the same information on the other 10-qubit quantum system on the processor after inserting a qubit into one system and sending an energy shockwave across the processor after doing so.
Depending on whether a positive or negative shockwave was applied, the team measured how much quantum information was transferred between two quantum systems. The researchers demonstrated that a causal path between the two quantum systems can be established if the wormhole is kept open for enough time by the negative energy shockwaves. It is true that the qubit that was inserted into one system also appears in the other.
The team then used conventional computer calculations to confirm these and other properties. Running a simulation on a traditional computer is not like this. A conventional simulation, which involves the manipulation of classical bits, zeros, and ones, cannot create a physical system, even though it is possible to simulate the system on a classical computer and this was done as described in this paper.
Future quantum gravity experiments could be conducted using more advanced entangled systems and larger quantum computers because of this new research. This research does not replace direct observations of quantum gravity, such as those obtained through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory’s detection of gravitational waves.
The Counter Ransomware Task Force (CRTF), which was formed to bring together Singapore Government agencies from various domains to strengthen Singapore’s counter-ransomware efforts, has issued its report.
Singapore’s efforts to promote a resilient and secure cyber environment, both domestically and internationally, to combat the rising ransomware threat are guided by the recommendations in the CRTF report.
According to David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity, Chief Executive of CSA and Chairman of the CRTF, ransomware poses a threat to both businesses and individuals. Economically, socially, and even in terms of national security, it can be detrimental. Both internationally and across domains, ransomware is a problem.
“It requires us to collaborate and draw on our knowledge in a variety of fields, including cybersecurity, law enforcement, and financial supervision. It also necessitates that we work with like-minded international partners to identify a common problem and develop solutions,” David explains.
He exhorts businesses and individuals to contribute as well, strengthening the nation’s overall defence against the ransomware scourge.
Cybercriminals use malicious software known as ransomware. When ransomware infects a computer or network, it either locks the system or encrypts the data on it. For the release of the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims.
A vigilant eye and security software are advised to prevent ransomware infection. Following an infection, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to remove the malware, or restart the device.
Extortion Trojans frequently employ the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software vulnerabilities as their attack vectors. Therefore, a ransomware attack can target both people and businesses.
The ransomware threat has significantly increased in scope and effect, and it is now a pressing issue for nations all over the world, including Singapore.
The fact that attackers operate internationally to elude justice makes it a global issue. Ransomware has created a criminal ecosystem that offers criminal services ranging from unauthorised access to targeted networks to money laundering services, all fed by illicit financial gains.
Singapore must approach the ransomware issue as a cross-border and cross-domain problem if it is to effectively combat the ransomware threat.
Other nations should adopt comparable domestic measures to coordinate their financial regulatory, law enforcement, and cybersecurity agencies to combat the ransomware issue and promote international cooperation.
Three significant results were the culmination of the CRTF’s work. For government agencies to collaborate and create anti-ransomware solutions, they first developed a comprehensive understanding of the ransomware kill chain.
Second, it examined Singapore’s stance on paying ransom to cybercriminals. Third, for the government to effectively combat ransomware, the CRTF suggested the following policies, operational plans, and capabilities under four main headings:
Pillar 1: Enhances the security of potential targets (such as government institutions, critical infrastructure, and commercial organisations, especially small and medium-sized businesses) to make it more difficult for ransomware attackers to carry out successful attacks.
Pillar 2: To lower the reward for ransomware attacks, disrupt the ransomware business model.
Pillar 3: To prevent ransomware attack victims from feeling pressured to pay the ransom, which feeds the ransomware industry, support recovery.
Pillar 4: Assemble a coordinated international strategy to combat ransomware by cooperating with international partners. Singapore should concentrate on and support efforts to promote international cooperation in three areas that have been identified by the CRTF: law enforcement, anti-money laundering measures, and discouraging ransom payments.
The appropriate government agencies will take the recommendations of the CRTF under consideration for additional research and action.
An international team led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) has successfully developed the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) model that can detect Alzheimer’s disease solely through fundus photographs or images of the retina. The model is more than 80% accurate after validation.
Fundus photography is widely accessible, non-invasive and cost-effective. This means that the AI model incorporated with fundus photography is expected to become an important tool for screening people at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the community. Details have been published in The Lancet Digital Health under the international journal The Lancet.
Limitations of Alzheimer’s disease current detection methods
In Hong Kong, 1 in 10 people aged 70 or above suffers from dementia, with more than half of those cases attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is associated with an excessive accumulation of abnormal amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and resulting in progressive cognitive decline.
The Clinical Professional Consultant of the Division of Neurology in CU Medicine’s Department of Medicine and Therapeutics stated that memory complaints are common among middle-aged and elderly people, and are often considered a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is sometimes difficult to make an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease based on cognitive tests and structural brain imaging. However, methods to detect Alzheimer’s pathology, such as an amyloid-PET scan or testing of cerebrospinal fluid collected via lumber puncture, are invasive and less accessible.
To address the current clinical gap, CU Medicine has led several medical centres and institutions from Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States to successfully develop an AI model using state-of-the-art technologies which can detect Alzheimer’s disease using fundus photographs alone.
Studying disorders of the central nervous system via the retina
The S.H. Ho Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Chairman of CU Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences explained that the retina is an extension of the brain in terms of embryology, anatomy and physiology. In the entire central nervous system, only the blood vessels and nerves in the retina allow direct visualisation and analysis.
Thus, it is widely considered a window through which disorders in the central nervous system can be studied. Through non-invasive fundus photography, a range of changes in the blood vessels and nerves of the retina that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease can be detected.
The team developed and validated their AI model using nearly 13,000 fundus photographs from 648 Alzheimer’s disease patients (including patients from the Prince of Wales Hospital) and 3,240 cognitively normal subjects. Upon validation, the model showed 84% accuracy, 93% sensitivity and 82% specificity in detecting Alzheimer’s disease. In the multi-ethnic, multi-country datasets, the AI model achieved accuracies ranging from 80% to 92%.
Accessibility, non-invasiveness and high cost-effectiveness of the AI model using fundus photography help the detection of Alzheimer’s cases both in the clinic and the community
A Professor of Medicine and Director of the Therese Pei Fong Chow Research Centre for Prevention of Dementia at CU Medicine stated that in addition to its accessibility and non-invasiveness, the accuracy of the new AI model is comparable to imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
It shows the potential to become not only a diagnostic test in clinics but also a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease in community settings. Looking ahead, the team aims to validate its efficacy in identifying high-risk cases of the disease hidden in the community, so that various preventive treatments such as anti-amyloid drugs can be initiated early to slow down cognitive decline and brain damage.
The Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at CU Medicine said that in addition to applying novel AI technologies in the model, the team also tested it in different scenarios. Notably, their AI model retained a robust ability to differentiate between subjects with and without Alzheimer’s disease, even in the presence of concomitant eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma which are common in city-dwellers and the older population.
Their results further support the hypothesis that the team’s AI analysis of fundus photographs is an excellent tool for the detection of memory-depriving Alzheimer’s disease. To move this research towards clinical application, the team is developing an integrated, AI-based platform to combine information from both blood vessels and nerves of the retina captured by fundus photography and optical coherence tomography for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings should provide more evidence to move AI from code to the real world.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) announced it would roll out Internet advertising management measures at a conference in Hanoi earlier this week. Participants at the event discussed how advertising in cyberspace has become the norm. Domestic and foreign firms choose it because it is easier to access customers and it offers flexible costs and larger reach. However, the limited management of ads poses potential risks to the safety of brands, the Ministry has said.
According to a press release by MIC, ad agents affirmed that without the cooperation of cross-border platforms in modifying algorithms to filter and censor content, ad violations will remain rampant. The Ministry will penalise agents and brands that cooperate with platforms that do not fall in line with MIC regulations. On the other hand, the Ministry will support ads on domestic and foreign digital platforms that comply with domestic laws, MIC’s Deputy Minister, Nguyen Thanh Lam, noted. This will protect brands and build a healthy, safe, and fair ad business environment.
The Ministry will also increase inspection and clampdown on violations of Internet ads activities, he said. Cross-border ad firms that fail to comply with Vietnam’s laws will not be allowed to operate in the country. MIC has also generated a Whitelist consisting of licensed e-newspapers, magazines, general information websites, and social media. Other websites, registered accounts, and information channels are also in the pipeline for the list, the release said. The list will be publicised on the portals of the Ministry and Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information. Ad service providers, agents, and brands were also urged to use the list for their work.
Nearly 80% of the population in Vietnam are digital consumers, as OpenGov Asia reported earlier in October. Over the past year, the average contribution of e-commerce to total retail has continued to grow at 15%. Higher than growth in India (10%) and China (4%), with an online-to-total retail share of 6%. Now that the world is in the post-pandemic stage, regional consumers are prioritising an integrated shopping experience, combining online and in-person services. During the ‘discovery’ phase of their shopping, 84% of Vietnamese shoppers use the Internet to browse and find items. This is a period when they use more platforms than ever before, with the dominance of the e-commerce market accounting for 51% of online spending.
At the same time, social networking sites account for nearly half of online discoveries, including images (16%), social media videos (22%), and related tools such as messaging (9%). These tools were paramount channels for 44% of survey respondents. Consumers’ openness to interaction and experimentation has also led to behavioural changes, with 64% of respondents saying they have interacted with a business account in the past year. As customers seek more engagement, the content creation economy is able to grow exponentially.
In the context of digital consumption, Vietnamese users switch brands more often and increase the number of platforms they use to find a better value, with 22% of online orders made on various e-commerce platforms. The number of online platforms Vietnamese consumers use has doubled from 8 in 2021 to 16 in 2022. Therefore, it is important to put in place proper ad regulations as Internet usage grows.