Part 1 of a two-part interview
Brain-computer interfaces enabling paralysed patients to turn thoughts into actions. Brain-inspired computers that far exceed human ability in certain tasks. Brain-like, low energy-consuming chip, with high-computing power. Factory workers using brain-controlled exoskeletons for manufacturing. Precise, personalised deep brain stimulation helping patients suffering from neurological ailments to lead normal lives.
All of the above are already real or expected to become real in the not-too-distant future. Brain technology has the potential to transform our world and the way we work and live.
OpenGov had the opportunity to have a wide-ranging discussion on brain technology and its foundations with Dr. Oren Shriki, Principal Investigator at the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He heads the Computational Psychiatry Lab.
We wanted to start with the basics, the science behind the technology. So, the first question we asked was, “At the moment, how well do we understand how the brain works? How much do we need to understand it to develop applicable brain technology?”
Dr. Shriki replied that though we have substantial knowledge about how the brain works, the mysteries are far greater than what is known. Dr. Shriki said, “If you see the amount of knowledge, at all levels, from molecules and cells to the full human brain, there is a lot. But we are far from complete understanding on the very basic questions. Nevertheless, in terms of brain technology, it’s kind of surprising, but what we see is that we can make much progress, we can go quite a long way, even without understanding how the brain works.”
Many medications for the brain were discovered through serendipity. They work but no one knows how they work. Dr. Shriki mentioned the technology of deep brain stimulation, which has seen significant success, as an example. Small devices are implanted very deep inside the brain at a very precise location, at the resolution of millimetres. They help patients with Parkinson’s disease by stimulating their brain. When it works in say a patient with a tremor in his hand, once the device is activated, the tremor is completely gone.
Dr. Shriki said, “This is an already existing technology. There are various theories but no one really understands how it works. The advantage is that some way we can grow without understanding the brain. Nevertheless, I believe that breakthroughs in understanding how the brain works will be translated to important brain technologies. Currently, without understanding exactly what happens in attention deficit disorder, in schizophrenia, in depression, in other disorders we cannot really know how to treat them. Because we cannot understand the mechanism. We just have some treatments that there were discovered by serendipity, like Ritalin, like anti-psychotic medications for schizophrenia.”
But do these treatments discovered through serendipity work equally well across all patients, at all times? There is a lot of variation. For instance, we think of epilepsy as one disease, but there are many, very different, subtypes of epilepsy. When doctors try to find a medication for an epileptic patient, they manage to find a medication that works in the first time for only 50% of the patients.
Dr. Shriki said that sometimes doctors try many times until they find something that works. “Psychiatrists try many different types of medications. But if you push them they will tell you that they don’t have very good principles on how to choose the medication for a particular subject,” Dr. Shriki said.
Overview of research at the Computational Psychiatry Laboratory (CPL)
The research in CPL involves both experimental work with human subjects and theoretical work. The research is aimed at developing new insights into psychiatric and neurological phenomena.
Researchers typically go to mental health centres and measure the brain activity of patients using electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment. They are also asked to perform some cognitive experiments.
Computational models are also developed which accompany the experimental work and drive it. There are computer simulations of neuronal networks, which are used for modeling what might go wrong in certain brain disorders.
The final line of research in the lab is what is called neural feedback and brain-computer interfaces. “So, we not only measure brain activity but we also reflect it back to the subject in real-time and see if we can help the subject learn how to control his brain activity and also use it in certain cases to control other devices like robots”, Dr. Shriki explained.
Two approaches to generating computational models
The bottom up approach starts with mathematical equations that describe the neurons, how they work and interact with one another. Based on these equations, computer programs are written that simulate the activity of the neurons.
“In the bottom up models people guess the pattern of connectivity. They choose random connectivity, or they plug in some rules that modify the connections among the neurons in a way which resembles what we know about the brain. Then they let those models evolve and see what patterns of activity they see, how the network model behaves and whether it resembles certain phenomena that you see in patients”, Dr. Shriki elaborated.
For instance, in a model of epilepsy, you can prepare a network model, with two types of neurons like in the brain, the ones that excite each other and neurons that inhibit other neurons. If the excitation and inhibition are balanced, you will see normal brain activity. If you increase the excitation compared to the inhibition, the model can start presenting epileptic activity. Then you can compare it to epileptic activity in real brains.
In the top down approach, researchers try to guess the computational principles that the brain uses, like optimal information representation or trying to obtain rewards. Starting with networks that mimic the brain, a computational principle is plugged in. This principle dictates the learning of the neurons, and how the neurons change the connections among themselves. The experimental data can then be used to provide feedback and deduce the computational principles the brain uses.
Dr. Shriki said that the disadvantage of these models is that they are somewhat removed from biology. But they are interesting because they can arrive at phenomena like hallucinations, starting with a simple computational principle. The bottom up models show activity that looks like the brain, but the insights that they provide into the underlying computational principles are limited.
Dr. Shriki’s work tends more towards the top-down use of computational principles.
Deep learning – an application of the top-down approach
Deep learning networks are based on the top-down approach described above. They mimic the brain but they are still very simple compared to the brain.
Dr. Shriki explained, “I show the network some inputs and I show it the desired outputs. For example, I show it some pictures and some description of what’s in the picture. Then I want the network to learn and to be able to generalise. So that if I show it new pictures it has never seen before, it would know how to describe them.”
How a computational model can ‘hallucinate’
Dr. Shriki and his team have developed computational models for neuronal networks that evolved to optimise the representation of information, which means that the connections among the neurons change with time in such a way that the neurons learn to represent the information that they are exposed to. These serve as models for healthy brain activity and also give insights into certain disorders.
Dr. Shriki said, “The most important phenomenon that I discovered is that these networks tend to operate near the border between normal processing of inputs and hallucinations. This is kind of strange because you can say what do you mean by hallucinations in a computer or in a mathematical model.”
Usually, the network receives some input, and there’s output in the form of patterns of activity in the neurons. Under certain conditions, you can get patterns of activity in the neurons even without an input. The neurons just talk to one another and maintain their own persistent activity without any external input. This is what Dr. Shriki described as ‘hallucination’. Where you think that you see or hear something but it is not really out there.
When networks try to optimise information processing, they tend to work on the border. “Our theory is that all of us, even healthy people are not very far from this border, not very far from having hallucinations,” Dr. Shriki said, “The thing is that under certain conditions, some processes that take place in the brain may push you beyond the border and you will start having hallucinations. We model for instance the phenomenon of tinnitus, debilitating ringing in the ear. Also, patients with schizophrenia hear voices, they suffer from verbal hallucinations. Our model cannot really present complex verbal hallucinations but we can try to understand the basic mechanisms that drive hallucinations.”
Dr. Shriki’s models can also display the phenomenon of synaesthesia, the condition in which stimulation in one sensory modality elicits conscious response in another sensory modality. This is an unusual phenomenon prevalent in about 1-3% of the population. In most cases, it is associated with colours. People hear sounds and they see vivid colours that are not really out there. This model could explain under which conditions synaesthesia can evolve in the brain.
Regarding treatment applications, Dr. Shriki said, “The unique thing we do is to develop measures of brain activity that recognise the state of the patient. Like we take several minutes of complex brain activity data and we just give you a single number which tell us if your brain is too excited or inhibited. Schizophrenia, autism, attention disorder are also all associated with some imbalance of excitation and inhibition.”
The only way for a psychiatrist to know if a treatment for schizophrenia actually works is to look at the behaviour of the patient and reviewing them day after day. But it’s not objective.
Dr. Shriki’s work aims to provide objective measures of, for instance the connectivity in the brain and the underlying dynamics, and checking whether the medication actually normalises the brain towards healthy behaviour. This will help to make the process of selecting the medication more efficient.
Analysis of experimental data
An important aspect of the work in the Computational Psychiatry Lab, is that the analysis of the acquired data is driven by the theoretical modelling work.
In the 80s, some scientists realised that there are similarities between the brain and physical systems. In physical systems people care about the collective behaviour of many simple elements that interact with one another. There are fields like statistical physics, which are interested in the collective behaviour and in concepts like temperature, pressure, which cannot really be associated with a single atom. Then people realised that there is a similarity between neural networks and those physical systems. Even in the mathematical descriptions they are somewhat similar and ideas can be derived from physics and applied to neural systems.
So, Dr. Shriki, who has a strong background in physics, especially in the area of critical phenomena, uses ideas inspired from physics for analysing the data, specifically physics of systems that operate close to a border. He explained, “For example, you can take a magnetic system, a piece of iron that could be either magnetic or not magnetic. When you cool it down to a certain unique temperature, it would be exactly on the border between magnetic and non-magnetic. Under these conditions, the system has unique properties, and these properties are universal, namely, they can be found in other systems that are critical. Thus, we take tools that are similar to what people use for studying these critical phenomena in physics, and we apply them to activity in the brain.”
In the next part of the interview, we look at recent developments in invasive and non-invasive brain technologies and the scientific challenges, which have to be surmounted for faster development of better technologies. We conclude with a discussion on the ethical aspects of brain technology.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.
Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.
From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.
Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.
Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.
The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.
Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.
Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.
Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.
The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.
The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.
This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.
A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.
Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.
Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.
The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.
Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.
The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.
The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.
Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.
NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.
According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.
The Indonesian government actively strives to implement thematic Bureaucratic Reform (RB) directly addressing societal issues. Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that innovation is one way to realise impactful bureaucracy.
To create impactful bureaucracy through innovation, the PANRB Ministry, which oversees public services, encourages local governments to replicate innovations through the Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP). This is done to expand the reach of inventions and make them an integral part of the Bureaucratic Reform effort. The PANRB Ministry, as the overseer of public services, pays special attention to the steps local governments take in implementing innovations in public service delivery.
The Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP) is a platform for local governments to share and discuss their experiences adopting specific innovations. By sharing best practices and learnings, local governments can gain valuable insights to enhance the quality of public services at the local level.
Furthermore, Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that inter-government collaboration is critical to building an innovative and positively impactful bureaucracy. “Through FRIPP, we encourage local governments to inspire and adopt innovations that have proven to provide real benefits to the community,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the PANRB Ministry, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Administrative Agency (LAN), successfully launched the National Public Service Innovation Network (JIPPNas) website as a knowledge management system and the national database for public service innovations.
JIPPNas represents a concrete step in building an innovation ecosystem at the national level. This platform allows local governments to share ideas, projects, and innovative solutions in delivering public services. With this platform, other local governments can easily access and adopt innovations, accelerating the spread of best practices.
“Therefore, the presence of JIPPNas is expected to be an effort to grow new public service models through collaboration to achieve the future government,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In the discourse of Future Government, Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas outlined four main focus areas of the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which serve as the foundation for ambitious goals: poverty alleviation, increased investment, digitisation of government administration, and accelerating the current President’s priorities. Emphasis on these areas is crucial to ensuring that the bureaucracy is an effective and efficient driving force in realising the government’s vision and mission.
Minister Anas stressed the importance of a prime bureaucratic condition as a foundation to achieve the desired goals. Like a machine that must be well-maintained, the bureaucracy is directed to be able to drive the “vehicle” of the government towards the desired direction. Thus, the success of implementing the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform involves not only structural transformation but also upholding the quality and readiness of the bureaucracy as the primary driver of development.
Addressing Future Governance or Governance 5.0, Minister Anas detailed a significant paradigm shift. The “government regulating society” transitions to “Government working together with society,” or more precisely, considering society as a partner. This concept marks an evolution in how the government interacts with society, creating closer and more inclusive collaboration.
The importance of support from strategic partners such as Indonesia Infrastructure Project Governance (IIPG) is also highlighted. As a supporter of public governance reform, IIPG significantly contributes to maintaining synergy and harmonisation of roles across multi-sectors, both from the private and public sectors. This synergy is crucial in maintaining optimal performance and achieving public governance reform goals.
In line with the paradigm shift and focus on reform, these steps mark the government’s severe efforts to build a foundation for an adaptive, responsive, and actively engaged Future Government. Thematic Bureaucratic Reform is not just about structural transformation but also an effort to create a governance ecosystem capable of meeting the challenges and demands of the times effectively and competitively.
The 21st century is frequently called the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), prompting questions about its societal implications. It actively transforms numerous processes across various domains, and research ethics (RE) is no exception. Multiple challenges, encompassing accountability, privacy, and openness, are emerging.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) have been instituted to guarantee adherence to ethical standards throughout research. This scoping review seeks to illuminate the challenges posed by AI in research ethics and assess the preparedness of REBs in evaluating these challenges. Ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment are essential to address these concerns.
To sustain this awareness, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a part of the Department of Energy, has joined the Trillion Parameter Consortium (TPC), a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals. The consortium aimed to address the challenges of building large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems and advancing trustworthy and reliable AI for scientific discovery.
ORNL’s collaboration with TPC aligns seamlessly with its commitment to developing secure, reliable, and energy-efficient AI, complementing the consortium’s emphasis on responsible AI. With over 300 researchers utilising AI to address Department of Energy challenges and hosting the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, ORNL is well-equipped to significantly contribute to the consortium’s objectives.
Leveraging its AI research and extensive resources, the laboratory will be crucial in addressing challenges such as constructing large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering problems. Specific tasks include creating scalable model architectures, implementing effective training strategies, organising and curating data for model training, optimising AI libraries for exascale computing platforms, and evaluating progress in scientific task learning, reliability, and trust.
TPC strives to build an open community of researchers developing advanced large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering progress. The consortium plans to voluntarily initiate, manage, and coordinate projects to prevent redundancy and enhance impact. Additionally, TPC seeks to establish a global network of resources and expertise to support the next generation of AI, uniting researchers focused on large-scale AI applications in science and engineering.
Prasanna Balaprakash, ORNL R&D staff scientist and director of the lab’s AI Initiative, said, “ORNL envisions being a critical resource for the consortium and is committed to ensuring the future of AI across the scientific spectrum.”
Further, as an international organisation that supports education, science, and culture, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established ten principles of AI ethics regarding scientific research.
- Beneficence: AI systems should be designed to promote the well-being of individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Non-maleficence: AI systems should avoid causing harm to individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Autonomy: Individuals should have the right to control their data and to make their own decisions about how AI systems are used.
- Justice: AI systems should be designed to be fair, equitable, and inclusive.
- Transparency: AI systems’ design, operation, and outcomes should be transparent and explainable.
- Accountability: There should be clear lines of responsibility for developing, deploying, and using AI systems.
- Privacy: The privacy of individuals should be protected when data is collected, processed, and used by AI systems.
- Data security: Data used by AI systems should be secure and protected from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
- Human oversight: AI systems should be subject to human management and control.
- Social and environmental compatibility: AI systems should be designed to be compatible with social and ecological values.
Since 1979, ORNL’s AI research has gained a portfolio with the launch of the Oak Ridge Applied Artificial Intelligence Project to ensure the alignment of UNESCO principles. Today, the AI Initiative focuses on developing secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI across various applications, showcasing the laboratory’s commitment to advancing AI in fields ranging from biology to national security. The collaboration with TPC reinforces ORNL’s dedication to driving breakthroughs in large-scale scientific AI, aligning with the world agenda in implementing AI ethics.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, spoke at two influential tech events: the Indian Express Digifraud & Safety Summit 2023 and YourStory Techsparks’23. His engagements centred around India’s technological advancements, regulatory policies, and the nation’s promising future in the global tech landscape.
At these tech summits, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar outlined India’s ambitious technological trajectory, reinforcing the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, ensuring a safe digital environment, and harnessing the transformative power of technology for the nation’s progress.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar articulated India’s journey in artificial intelligence (AI) and emphasised the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and the startup ecosystem. He expressed the government’s profound interest in further boosting India’s burgeoning startup landscape.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted India’s transition from an unrestricted, eternally optimistic view of technology and the internet to a more nuanced approach. He highlighted the government’s aim to strike a balance between fostering innovation and growth while guaranteeing distinct rights for digital citizens.
The Minister emphasised the evolution from the phase of transforming India to the concept of ‘New India’ and now envisions witnessing the emergence of ‘Viksit Bharat’. He expanded on India’s transformation which resonated with the Prime Minister’s vision to raise India to a developed nation status, aiming to elevate the nation to the position of the world’s third-largest economy.
Highlighting the government’s initiatives, Minister Chandrasekhar stated, “Our focus is on startups, innovation, and funding, creating a computing infrastructure. In January, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi agreed to establish a significant amount of GPU capacity in India for startups to access and bring forth their innovation and foundational models.”
He advocated for decentralising the startup landscape, encouraging the emergence of successful ventures from various regions across India. “We want unicorns and successful startups to come from Meerut, Ghaziabad, Kohima, Srinagar, Kottayam, Belgaum, Dharwad, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, and beyond,” he asserted, confirming the nation’s commitment to fostering innovation in diverse cities.
Addressing concerns about internet regulation and safety, the Minister explained the government’s evolved approach, focusing on ensuring safety and trust for digital citizens while holding platforms accountable. He clarified that “safety and trust are not for the Government; rather, they are initiatives aimed at safeguarding the vast majority of Digital Nagriks”.
Reflecting on his participation in the UK AI Summit, Minister Chandrasekhar underscored India’s commitment to a safe and trusted internet, aligning with the government’s guiding principles since 2021.
“We want the internet to be safe and trusted; it is an article of faith. We also aim for platforms to be legally accountable,” he reiterated.
He highlighted the need to embrace AI’s potential while managing risks, warning against a narrative that diminishes its innovation. The Minister emphasised that avoiding the overshadowing of AI’s benefits by its perceived risks is crucial for the digital economy and the populace.
“We don’t seek to demonise AI; rather, it’s vital to maintain a balance so that the discourse on its risks doesn’t eclipse its potential advantages,” he explains, clarifying India’s approach to artificial intelligence.
OpenGov Asia provided coverage of India’s expanding global influence, highlighting the country’s leadership roles across diverse international platforms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) and a Social Impact Fund (SIF). The GDPIR will be used for sharing information and best practices and the SIF is designed to advance Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).
He unveiled the schemes during the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Chaired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) has played a key role in progressing the global DPI agenda.