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Singapore first to roll out AI programme for non-techies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been identified as one of the four emerging technologies to drive Singapore’s digital economy. The technology aims to transform the way people live and work in the nation by empowering citizens with AI skills in an inclusive way. A collaboration between Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and a multinational corporation and technology company launched AI programmes intended for the youth and the non-techies to further educate them on AI technology.

Just last year, a programme was intended to help youth develop a deep understanding of AI, by demystifying the technology, and equipping youth with the skillset and mindset required for AI readiness was launched by the same tech company. The programme also intended to democratise access to AI toolsets, and at the same time, train youth to be able to use them skillfully to create AI solutions that drive meaningful social impact.

Now, for the next phase of the programme, Singapore is the first country in the world to roll out a course developed by the tech giant to demystify AI for the ordinary citizen. The free four-hour online microlearning course AI for Citizens was launched in partnership with ITE.

ITE said that sometimes, buzzwords create a lot of fear and anxiety in society, and some people have the misconception that AI is only for intellectual people, so they must start from the ground to tell the public not to worry or fear AI.

Promising not to be too technical, the self-paced course aims to give people a basic understanding of AI, appreciate how it is used and address misconceptions. Catering to people with no prior knowledge of AI, the course is suitable for anyone, from students to senior citizens. The interactive course will include a short quiz, and personalised digital badges will be awarded upon completion.

ITE is offering the course to the public as part of the national efforts to demystify AI and its applications.

The tech giant also plans to expand the programme to 30 countries by 2030 as part of its efforts to make technology inclusive and expand digital readiness.

Similarly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AI Singapore and the same tech giant intends to further accelerate the adoption of AI in the country by providing industry-relevant and skills-based training. According to the tech giant, the rise of AI will open incredible new experiences and fuel new business opportunities, scientific discovery, and societal improvement. They believe that AI has the potential to improve people’s lives. Therefore, they will continue to collaborate with institutions to develop the right talent to lead the movement.

Also, by 2030, Singapore aims to be the leader in developing and deploying scalable impactful AI solutions in key sectors of high value and relevance to its citizens and businesses. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced five national AI-centred projects.

The AI strategy will cover the following areas:

  • Transport and logistics
  • Smart cities and estates
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Safety and security

This AI strategy, as addressed by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), is focused on using the technology to overcome the nation’s critical challenges and to bring influential, social, and economic benefits to the people.

Its three main objectives include Singapore becoming the centre point for developing, test-bedding, deploying, and scaling AI solutions and for also understanding how AI technology should be regulated and managed. While economic and social benefits will be brought about by the government and businesses, citizens should be made aware of what AI technology consists of. They should have knowledge of the benefits, challenges, and threats of using AI technology. They should also understand how AI technology will affect them and the nation.

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