In recent times stakeholders from various sectors have started becoming proactively involved in identifying ways to improve justice. However, issues that hampered this mission include a lack of good governance thereby hindering the institution of an efficient, fair, transparent, and accountable system.
These issues can only be rectified through continued effort, necessitating cooperation from all sides.
Thus, a recent article reported on how Open Data and AI Technology can play an important role in rectifying the issues prevalent in the Thai justice system.
The adoption of such technology by many governments and agencies has reinforced direct representative democracy since it allows democratic engagement and empowers people in new ways.
Recently, the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) in collaboration with ChangeFusion and several partners held the 2nd Roundtable on Technology for Justice Series (Project j: jX Justice Experiment) under the topic “Open Data and AI for Participatory Justice”.
Open data is a set of machine-readable information that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can be used to find insights and anomalies within such open datasets. For instance, AI can be used to enhance, deepen and accelerate routine data analysis so people can be free to monitor suspicious contracts or payments in depth. This can increase the rate of corruption prosecutions.
The Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice stated that good governance has a direct impact on law and order. It requires a climate of respect for the rule of law, the existence of check and balances, transparency and accountability. A reform of the justice system in this sense asks for measures to ensure efficient and transparent procedures are performed in line with ethical standards.
He noted that Open Data is a key part of this reform as it encourages citizens active participation, by allowing them to look into government data and oversight its procedures.
In Thailand, Open Data and AI are being used in several sectors. For example, in an AI-powered customer support platform analyses data through AI. The data is then made public and people can help monitor real-time incidents, share information and offer suggestions to the government.
Moreover, AI can prevent road accidents by detecting blind spots crossing statistic data from Department of Highways, volunteers and insurance companies. Similarly, the KiiD project creates an ecosystem where people share information and contribute to the economic development, health and safety of an Innovation District.
Other platforms include data.go.th, developed by the Digital Government Development Agency; AI police for women by Royal Thai Police, a project geared to protect vulnerable groups namely, women and children victims of family violence.
It is essential to appreciate how valuable accurate data collection and sharing is in order to maximise modern technology.
Data that is collected and shared has the potential enable governments to operate more effectively; it is government’s responsibility to make information – like information on procurement, budget disbursement, government expenditures including taxes and justice related information – accessible to the public.
The Director a Thai News Agency argued that when the public sector refuses to share information, it might have a hidden agenda or the interests of those in power are at stake.
On the other hand, Open Data and AI technologies have limitations including machine bias, privacy issues and a lack of human empathy and emotions.
However, as these tools become more sophisticated as time goes on and they have the potential to alleviate the bias and inefficiencies facing the justice system while improving fairness and safety.
The reform of a fair justice system is indeed a challenging undertaking which calls for all stakeholders’ cooperation. Thus, Thailand’s government needs a concerted effort on the part of key stakeholders – policymakers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and researchers – to promote a culture that embraces innovation and leads to more effective, transparent and responsive civil services and criminal justice systems.
New technologies and disruptive innovations are reshaping the way financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed. Banks need to recognise the growth opportunities stemming from digital technologies to initiate new platforms, new value propositions, and intelligent business models.
The ability of financial services providers to identify the demands of their customers and broaden the usage of right technologies will determine who will ultimately gain the much-coveted competitive edge.
Leading ICT executives from financial services industries in the Philippines and Thailand participated in OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight to discuss key challenges surrounding the rollout of digital banking capabilities and strategies to enhance the customer experience.
The session witnessed an overwhelming response from the audience in terms of diversity and engagement. Comprised of senior FSI sector digital executives from banks and financial institutions, the attendees were eager to discuss, debate and determine the best practices to achieve fast and convenient product innovations and efficiency within the digital bank.
Knowing your customer is the key to enhancing customer service
It is no surprise to see customers of today waiting impatiently for seamless services. They demand prompt services and immediate solutions to any problems they experience.
This notion of customers being time-starved was made by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia in his opening address.
Mohit talked about how the new wave of millennial customers are “born digital” and are demanding simple, fast and convenient digital experiences. The open banking approach is shifting the entire ecosystem at a rapid rate, where the requirements for traditional banks have been changing drastically.
Mohit stressed how it is crucial for financial services to deeply understand their customers and constantly reinvent their services as customers are always reinventing themselves with technology.
He stressed the importance of using available technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as it enables the banks to focus on the customers and services, not a product.
Mohit concluded his presentation by encouraging organisations to collaborate with experts and partners who will help them accelerate their innovation journey and innovate to stay relevant in the current environment.
Key frameworks to assist financial institutions in digital banking journey
After Mohit’s presentation, Annie Ong, Head of Business Development and Product Management, OneConnect Financial Technology, gave the welcome address of the event.
Annie began by expounding on the background of OneConnect Financial Technology and how they are exploring growth opportunities across Asia and the Middle East. She explained that OneConnect, as an organisation, has been dedicated to spearheading the financial service ecosystem, fully equipped with advanced technologies and data centres across the region.
She briefly explained the key digital solutions that OneConnect is spearheading:
- Digital Identity Verification
- Smart Lending Platform
- Digital Bank-in-a-box-Solution
- Insurtech Solutions
Annie also shared the digital banking frameworks of OneConnect solution which encompasses all the essential digital components to embark on a digital banking journey. Apart from key technology enablers such as eKYC, Anti-Fraud, Micro-expression, and Open APIs, she confirmed that OneConnect focuses on innovative technologies with the wealth of financial service industry experience that they have.
Product-focused to customer-focused
Keeping in mind the key frameworks of digital banking, Dhana Damodaram, General Manager Service Management & CIO Asia Pacific, Westpac Banking Corporation, offered his perspective to the delegates.
Dhana started by stating the fact that banks were originally known for products such as cards, wealth and mortgages. The industry is now seeing a drastic shift where banks are moving from product-focused to service-oriented. Banks are starting to bring the services to where the customer is and thereby, aiming to provide any channel, anytime and anywhere banking.
He explained that this trend can be seen from advertisement copy, as many of the traditional banks recently have been changing their taglines to align to customer-centric and smarter banking services.
Dhana asserted that banks should be deeply involved in the course of a customer journey and built into the process to provide seamless customer experience.
With this, as the banks move from product to service-focused and getting embedded into the customer journey, business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships are also changing from business-to-business (B2B) to B2C.
Dhana also claimed that with banks adopting the business models of digital banking, the revenue is expected to grow by 20%. Whereas banks that fall behind in digital banking disruption stand to lose an estimated 30% of revenue.
On the issue of ecosystem-based banking, Dhana emphasised the importance of portfolio management whereby banks should be certain of the specific segment of customers that they want to attract, and start building an ecosystem around them.
Polling Questions and Discussion
After the presentations by the three speakers, the session transitioned to an interactive discussion time with polling questions posed to the audience. The questions revolved around the main challenges and drivers of digital banking.
On the first question regarding the top priority in 2021, a majority of the room voted for removing frictions from the customer journey and improve their digital experience (68%).
A senior executive from Maybank Philippines shared that he voted for the use of big data, AI, cognitive computing and advanced technologies. He finds this increasingly important especially in times of current digital journey, as it enables the banks to onboard a customer without a physical presence. Such technologies are driving the need to remove physical presence on the premise of enhancing customer experience where the majority has voted for.
On the next question, delegates shared many different perspectives when asked for the primary business reason for offering digital banking. The audience was divided among business model (35%), attracting new customers (22%), competitive pressure (17%) and increase revenue (13%).
A delegate from CIMB Thai Bank voted for the business model as the primary reason because he felt that other options are the usual drivers for all banks. In digital banking, the concern is leaning more towards networks, partners and pricing model, and also streamlining the operation with automation. He believed that this would bring a competitive edge in the market and the rest are the subset of the business model.
On the same question, another delegate from UOB Thailand shared that the ultimate goal of banks is to increase revenue. Digital banking enables the banks to not only attract new customers but also to retain existing customers that will ultimately boost the revenue.
When asked about the biggest challenge when orchestrating an ecosystem, 35% of the delegates voted for security concerns, while 29% voted for prioritisation of ecosystem roadmap and creating an ecosystem mindset/culture.
While delegates agreed that all the challenges have to be addressed, one delegate shared that he voted for security concerns based on the experience he faced when expanding an ecosystem with partners from different industries. He learned that the concept of security was very different from the banking perspective.
After the completion of the discussions, Nicholas Tan, Head of Ecosystems and Partnerships, OneConnect Financial Technology addressed the audience with the closing remarks.
He shared the journey of Ping An group and how they have built adjacent ecosystems to support core business growth. Nicholas claimed that OneConnect was able to increase the number of users who interact through different digital channels 11 times over 7 years, and migration of financial customers also spiked from 8% to 35%.
Based on OneConnect’s experience and case studies, he stressed the importance of customer engagement through ecosystem for banks and thereby bringing the customers back to the financial services.
Nicholas thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic participation. Nicholas urged the delegates to reach out to the OneConnect team to explore ways of taking their ecosystem and digital banking journey forward.
An Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technologies Park (ARTPARK), set up in Bengaluru, will promote technology innovations in AI and robotics.
The government expects it will lead to a positive societal impact by executing ambitious mission-mode research and development (R&D) projects in healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail, and cybersecurity, focusing on problems specific to India.
ARTPARK, is a not-for-profit foundation established by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru with support from AI Foundry in a public-private model. With seed funding of US$ 22 million from the Department of Science & Technology (DST), under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS), it will bring about a collaborative consortium of partners from industry, academia, and government bodies. This will lead to cutting-edge innovations in technologies, standards, products, services, and intellectual properties.
According to a press release, ARTPARK will develop AI and robotics facilities to support technology innovations and capacity building through the advanced skills training of students and professionals in these areas. Some of these facilities will be key enablers for whole new sets of technologies, products, and services. It will develop DataSetu, which will enable confidentiality and a privacy-preserving framework to share data and run analytics spurring the data-sharing ecosystem and create a data marketplace, boosting AI applications and solutions.
Another service will be BhashaSetu, which will enable real-time Indic language translation, of both speech-to-speech and speech-to-text. This will further unlock the economic potential of the country, allowing all Indian citizens to equitably participate in the economic progress, regardless of their language, the press release claimed.
Professor Ashutosh Sharma, DST Secretary, said, “The National Mission ICPS with its 25 Hubs has a unique architecture that envisages a strong collaboration and co-ownership among the triple helix of industry, academia, and government with full flexibility. Generous additional support of the Government of Karnataka to the ARTPARK Hub brings extraordinary value in increasing its effectiveness, reach, and use. It also sets a template of centre-state partnership in the frontier areas of technology– a theme which will receive focus in the soon to be released Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020.”
“Indian academia has been carrying out cutting edge technology research in various domains. However, we have had systemic issues in moving the results of this research from university laboratories into the outside world. ARTPARK would go a long way in establishing a template for addressing this need,” Professor Govindan Rangarajan, Director IISc pointed out.
Robin Sukhia, Secretary-General, and President of the Sweden India Business Council pointed out how the not-for-profit organisation will enable international co-creation at a higher and deeper level to help solve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges using technology in a unique way.
ARTPARK will also run a novel ARTPARK Venture Studio that will mentor technopreneurs who will take the outputs of the mission-mode projects to launch new startups.
As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, India is home to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, elite science and technology institutions like the IITs, robust and ubiquitous digital infrastructure, and millions of newly-minted STEM graduates every year.
India is well-positioned to become a global leader in the development of artificial intelligence. Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to US$ 957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. India hopes to stand out in the international community not just as a leader in the Artificial Intelligence field, but also as a model to show the world how to responsibly direct AI for social empowerment. The nation has robust plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy.
The 2020 Vietnam Artificial Intelligence Festival (AI4VN) opened on 27 November in Ho Chi Minh City with the theme of AI and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jointly held by the Ministry of Science and Technology, over 500 leading Vietnamese and foreign professionals in the field attended the two-day event. AI is considered to be one of the core technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, with many countries having recognised its significant impact across all social aspects.
According to a media report, Vietnam is no exception and the event was expected to drive the development of AI in the country by connecting elements within the ecosystem, from research institutes and universities to enterprises, technology firms, start-up companies, and the AI community.
The gathering also aimed to promote the research and application of AI in various sectors such as healthcare, education, business, trade, finance, and agriculture. It was also an opportunity for business executives to adopt a pioneering role in the development and application of technological solutions to help their companies stand firm against the varied impacts of the pandemic.
During the two days, there were be six workshops on AI in banking-finance, AI in healthcare, AI in enterprises, AI in human resource training, building the AI ecosystem in Ho Chi Minh City, and computing infrastructure for AI.
The Youth Startup Forum also opened in Hanoi on the same day. Taking place amid global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was part of an emerging nation eager to display the dynamism of its startup ecosystem among investors/investment funds, enterprises, and experts worldwide via virtual events.
Themed ‘Respond – Transform – Breakthrough’, the event was structured into 12 technology villages: Medical Technology, Agricultural Technology, Educational Technology, Tourism and F&B Technology, Frontier Technology, Financial Technology, Smart Cities, Social Impact, Student Start-ups, and Local Start-ups, Community, and International village.
There were 250 startup booths, attracting nearly 200 investors, 150 corporations, enterprises, and business accelerators virtually and physically. Addressing the opening ceremony, the Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat said the startup ecosystem had entered a new and important period for development, requiring efforts and coordination from government agencies, startups, and businesses.
There is also a need to work together to innovate from working methods to mindset, developing human resources, and creating a proper competitive environment. Startups should be proactive in renewing and changing the development model to create more value, he said.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the country also recently held the Vietnam Smart City Summit, which featured the participation of around 1,000 delegates via online platforms from 27 places in provinces and cities. Vietnam has proactively joined smart city networks in the region and around the world. Currently, Vietnam has three cities, having been in the ASEAN smart city network since 2018, and nearly 40 localities implementing smart city models.
The summit was a great opportunity for management agencies, experts, speakers, and enterprises from Vietnam and abroad to share and contribute their valuable experience in the building and development of smart cities.
The cabinet will be asked to endorse the country’s first artificial intelligence (AI) ethics guidelines by December 2020 to ensure the proper use of this advanced technology, the National Digital Economy and Society Committee (NDESC) stated recently.
Speaking at an AI ethics forum yesterday, the Secretary-General for NDESC stated that AI is useful for many aspects and it is vital to find a framework for its proper use. AI is a powerful tool that can be used both positively and negatively, she said.
AI ethics principles have been approved by the NDESC, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. The NDESC office plans to ask the cabinet to endorse these guidelines for public use of AI by next month. The NDESC operates under the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.
Energy, agriculture and healthcare are three key sectors that can leverage AI and the need is to educate all parties in using AI morally, she said. Ethics guidelines for other digital technologies could be rolled out in the future. The AI ethics guidelines cover six principles.
First, AI needs to be used to support competitiveness and sustainable development.
Second, it must take laws, ethics and international standards into account. Accordingly, AI needs to be researched, developed, designed and used in service in ways that comply with laws, norm and ethics, and fend off human rights violations and privacy breaches.
AI should not be used to frame human destiny while the design of it must cater to humans as a centre, said Ms Vunnaporn.
The third concerns transparency and accountability. All stakeholders, ranging from researchers and designers to developers to users, need to have accountability, with AI engagement through their roles.
The fourth involves security and privacy. AI, she said, must not be developed to commit fraud or cause threats to others. AI should have mechanisms that allow humans to interfere with its system to prevent harm.
The government should also work with other countries to stem the development of AI technology to automate weapons, she said.
The fifth concerns diversity and broad coverage without monopoly or discrimination. The final principle involves reliability, as AI technology must be reliable and create public confidence in its use. The NDESC Secretary-General said AI should also have the ability to gather and process user feedback.
Speaking at the same forum, the National Technology Head of the Thailand branch of an American multinational technology firm, said that company has a special unit responsible for ensuring AI development is ethical. Three aspects need to be carefully considered when AI is developed, he said. The first concerns the decision to grant loans and the second is linked to health risks. The last is human rights violation risks, such as facial recognition.
The Chief Executive of a Bangkok-based data service analytics firm said the company has an AI board that thoroughly considers AI projects that could have ethical risks, such as those in connection with the military.
According to Cert NZ’s most recent quarterly report, cybersecurity incidents have reached a record high. For the quarter July 1 to September 30, the cybersecurity agency logged over 2,600 incident reports from individuals and businesses. This is the highest number to date and reflects a 33% increase over the previous quarter.
Cert NZ’s Director Rob Pope was of the opinion that the figures were not unexpected, in the light of the recent flurry of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware and online scams. DDoS attacks are primarily volumetric in nature; in essence, they aim to overload websites by directing traffic to them to overwhelm their capacity.
OpenGov Asia had reported in late October that New Zeland had seen a surge of increasingly sophisticated malware attacks that are affecting everyday New Zealanders as well as large organisations. The malware campaign was being spread through attachments or links in emails was affecting New Zealanders. The attacks at the time had been predicted to cause widespread disruption and loss of revenue and data.
Not surprising then, the most common incidents that were reported were cyberattacks dispersed by email. Emotet, the virus reported above, was responsible for almost a third (34%) of the malware incident increase on the previous quarter.
Earlier in September, a wave of cyberattacks exposed worrying vulnerabilities in some of New Zealand’s key institutions. Most notably, for six days, the nation’s stock exchange – where tens of millions of dollars in shares are traded each working day – was laid low by the attacks.
Based on the reporting, the estimated financial loss was at $6.4m which is almost double the average quarterly loss of was $3.6m that is based on the last 14 quarters. The finance and insurance sector accounted for 60% of reports about incidents affecting organisations.
Of all the Incidents that were reported that had a financial loss component, thirteen were over $100,000. There were five incidents that involved the unauthorised transfer of money as a result of businesses having their email accounts compromised. Two related to “a new job or business opportunity” and the remaining related to scams including cryptocurrency, investment, fake lottery or prizes, and romance scams.
Pope said that these incidents ought to serve as a wakeup call for Kiwis to tighten up their online security. He encouraged New Zealanders to update their operating systems and software, ensure they use long, strong and unique passwords, and install antivirus software.
In the light of the upcoming season, cybersecurity experts have warned people to be especially vigilant and look out for holiday season scams. The Domain Name Commission along with InternetNZ has designed a fake webshop to practically demonstrate how citizens can spot signs of dubious e-commerce. A quick web search along with the terms “scam” or “review” will often go a long way towards alleviating or reaffirming concerns.
Graeme Muller, CEO NZTech, said in a recent publication that the nation has seen increasing cybersecurity threats for people and businesses as ‘bad actors’ attempt to take advantage of the pandemic. Operating within an increasingly digital environment, Kiwis are constantly under threat of cyber attack. Security should be top of mind for businesses, organisations and government. Including security as a pillar of a digital strategy is the best way to ensure peak performance while protecting people.
The country’s new Privacy Act comes into effect on December 1, 2020. Changes include the introduction of a privacy breach notification regime. This means if an organisation experiences a data breach where private information is lost or stolen and believes the breach could result in serious harm, it’s required to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals as soon as possible.
On a related note, the annual Cyber Security Summit has been delayed this year but is scheduled to return in February next year. The gathering explores new trends and the importance of cyber literacy across all levels of business.
The Makati City government is urging its residents, investors, workers, students, and visitors to download the Makatizen app to gain instant access to emergency hotlines and report crimes promptly to the authorities.
According to a press release, the app, available on Android and IOS, was created to bring information and public services, including emergency assistance and response, closer to the people who live, work, do business, or spend their leisure time in the country’s premier financial centre.
It aims to empower Makatizens to use their mobile phones to keep up with the latest developments at City Hall and to actively participate in the governance of the city. More importantly, it enables them to promptly contact the proper authorities during emergencies that require urgent government assistance and intervention.
The Makatizen app is one of the country’s technology-driven innovations focusing on mobility, resilience, and sustainability. It was presented by the mayor at the Smart City Expo World Congress held last month in Barcelona, Spain. Makati, the sole Philippine finalist in the 2019 World Smart Cities Awards, earned a top spot in the Innovative Idea category.
Since the app’s launch in 2017, the city’s central command centre at City Hall has recorded a significant increase in incident reports from 150 to 400 incidents per day, subsequently improving response time to emergencies.
As OpenGov reported earlier, local government units (LGUs) have been called up to embrace the switch to digital technologies to vastly improve their delivery of frontline services and generate more revenues under the New Economy in the post-pandemic era.
Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged local executives start working with the national government in preparing for the seamless transfer of the additional devolved functions, services, and facilities that they would have to assume (beginning from 2022) with the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the far higher revenue allotment (IRA) share of LGUs.
Under the high court’s Mandanas doctrine, the IRA share of LGUs should come from all national taxes, as mandated under the 1991 Local Government Code, and not from just the taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) within the respective jurisdictions of LGUs.
This expanded revenue coverage means the IRA share of LGUs should also include other taxes such as those collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC). This sizable IRA increase for LGUs will let them pump-prime their respective local economies in the New Economy.
Technologies adopted should include the processing of business registrations and the collection of local taxes. Investments in information technology will not only make for more responsive governance but will also improve the revenue generation of LGUs.
The national economy, after all, is the sum of all local economies. LGUs are at the frontline of serving vulnerable communities; they are also catalysts for building a new economy while the nation does what it can to address the global health emergency.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on Friday launched a mobile application that can identify and block scam messages and phone calls.
The National Crime Prevention Council’s Year-End Crime Prevention Campaign was held virtually on 20 November 2020 whereby the NCPC unveiled the new mobile application – ScamShield. ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.
The app uses artificial intelligence to identify keywords in messages from unknown contacts, these messages will be moved into a junk folder created on your phone by the app, just like what email inboxes do.
ScamShield has been jointly developed with the National Crime Prevention Council and Government Technology Agency, is available only on iOS devices and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for free.
The app blocks calls from a database of blocked numbers, managed centrally by the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force (SPF). Users can report scam messages and calls through the app, which will be added to the database and shared with the police. The council added that ScamShield does not have access to the user’s contact list, location or personal data. The app does not require users to register with their mobile numbers either.
Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, was a special guest at the virtual event on Friday and said that the number of scam cases has been on the rise and asked people to be vigilant when giving personal information to anyone.
ScamShield is easy to deploy in 3 simple steps and has many security features.
Download from App Store
Search for Scamshield on the App Store or click on this link. Do not download applications that are not from the official Apple Store.
Block known scam callers
ScamShield compares an incoming call against a list maintained by the Singapore Police Force to determine if the number has been used for illegal purposes and blocks it.
- Open Settings
- Tap Phone
- Tap Call Blocking & Identification
- Enable Scamshield
Filter Scam SMSes
When you receive an SMS from an unknown contact, ScamShield will determine if the SMS is a scam using an on-device algorithm, and filter the messages to a junk SMS folder. Scam SMSes will be sent to NCPC and SPF for collation. This keeps the app updated and will help protect others from such scam calls and messages. To Enable auto spam SMS filter:
- Open Settings
- Tap Messages
- Tap Unknown & Spam
- Enable Scamshield
Report Scam Messages
You can also report scam messages from other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Wechat, IMO, Viber, etc. You can forward the messages via ScamShield’s in-app reporting function. The Council have also said that the app will be available soon for Android users once some issues have been resolved.
Photo Credit: www.scamshield.sg