The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has just announced today April 26 that it will accelerate grants of AI-related patent applications to just six months, which will be the fastest in the world with immediate effect.
Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence to complement Singapore’s move towards a digital economy
The Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) will strongly complement Singapore’s shift to a digital economy, and support innovative enterprises who need to bring their AI products faster to global markets. Now, innovators can expect their AI patents to be granted in as quickly as six months, compared to a typical period of at least two years or more.
Today’s world economy is driven by innovation and digitalisation. Industry 4.0 has arrived, and AI is at the forefront of this development. According to a 2017 report, AI could potentially double Singapore’s annual economic growth rates from 3.2% to 5.4% by 2035 according to a release from IPOS
The drive towards AI is gaining momentum within the Government with a five-year Digital Government Blueprint plan launched last year for ministries and agencies to adopt one AI project by 2023. Companies in Singapore have also taken a proactive stance towards AI. 50% of businesses in telecom, insurance, finance, IT and retail have adopted AI solutions, with the remaining 30% indicating that they will do so by mid of this year.
IPOS initiative reinforces Singapore’s commitment to helping AI innovations move quickly to the market
Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS said: “AI has become one of the biggest drivers of technological and societal change in the world, and it will increasingly underpin Singapore’s drive to build a digital economy. The Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence will give AI innovators protection for their inventions much faster than usual and underscores Singapore’s commitment to helping AI innovations move quickly to the market. This initiative will also be extended to AI innovators outside of Singapore, and will allow them to use Singapore as a base to access markets of their interest speedily. This will reinforce Singapore as an IP hub for cutting-edge technologies.”
According to IPOS statement, the number of companies globally implementing AI solutions grew 270% in the past four years and tripled in the past year, with two in five enterprises implementing AI in some form now. The enormous interest in AI is most evident from patenting activities worldwide. More than 180,000 inventions relating to AI were published worldwide between 2008 to 2017, with an annual growth rate of more than over 20% over the last five years.Brimming with innovative activities, the global AI industry is forecast to be worth US$190 billion by 2025, with a compounded annual growth rate of 37% from 2017 to 2025.
A partner company of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) unveiled “ARIA-diabetes risks”, a retinal imaging tool for non-invasive pre-screening of diabetes. This solution aims to tackle the problem of millions of undiagnosed diabetes patients worldwide.
The International Diabetes Federation reports that in 2021, nearly half of all adults with diabetes were unaware of their condition, amounting to 239.7 million individuals worldwide. In Hong Kong alone, at least 600,000 individuals have diabetes and more than 110 million in mainland China. This is a significant issue that has both local and global implications, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
The Automatic Retinal Image Analysis (ARIA) technology uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques to detect various health issues. The solution provides a non-invasive pre-screening tool for diabetes that delivers results within minutes and has an accuracy rate of over 90%. It does not require a blood test and offers a faster and more accessible way for early diabetes diagnosis.
The partner company formed a joint venture called “Oneness Health” with an HKSTP incubatee to capitalise on the potential for remote healthcare offered by the ARIA-diabetes risks solution.
The joint venture combines the partner company’s retinal analysis technology with the incubatee’s network of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, as well as their software and hardware development capabilities. This creates a one-stop service platform under the name “Oneness Health” that provides high-risk patients seeking TCM treatment with added convenience and flexibility, with the goal of “disease prevention”.
The Oneness Health platform will offer features such as online appointments, mobile assessments, diagnosis, and personal health management in the first quarter of 2023.
In the near future, it will also provide prescriptions for traditional Chinese medicines that can be dispensed through auto-dispensing machines at over 100 convenient locations in 18 districts of Hong Kong or collected at various NGO centres. Additionally, door-to-door courier service will be available for single elderly individuals or needy families.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Park is dedicated to promoting innovation by providing a comprehensive support system for translational research, product development, and commercialization. The ARIA-diabetes risks solution from the two firms which is now being offered under the Oneness Health platform is a prime example of how innovative solutions can be developed in Hong Kong and at the Science Park.
The combination of breakthrough science, world-first technology, advanced software, and hardware to create an innovative primary healthcare delivery platform through Oneness Health, is a testament to the speed, talent, infrastructure, and innovation capability of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem.
In line with the HKSAR Government’s Primary Healthcare Blueprint announced in December 2022, the Oneness Health platform will contribute to the government’s goal of establishing a more community-based primary healthcare system. The platform will significantly improve healthcare convenience, expand treatment options, lower patient costs, and alleviate the burden on Hong Kong’s hospitals and clinics.
The Blueprint sets out a strategy road map towards establishing a primary healthcare system that can improve the overall health and quality of life for popular in a stable manner, under the challenges brought on by an ageing popular and increasing chronic disease prevalence.
The application of artificial intelligence (AI) can transform the ability to observe, comprehend, and anticipate processes in Earth’s systems. AI and ML computational capabilities can assist researchers and scientists in collecting, understanding, and analysing enormous amounts of data with a faster, more accurate, and more knowledgeable process for decision-making agility.
The researchers and scientists then collaborate to promote Earth and environmental science by using AI and modelling approaches such as machine learning (ML). They convened a workshop to determine particular priorities for addressing computational difficulties and attempted to nurture advancements in AI and ML, algorithms, data management, and other areas.
The workshop was designed by roughly 100 specialists based on 156 white papers given by 640 writers from 112 institutions worldwide. These principles’ consequences can help develop a technology infrastructure that is efficient, accurate, strategic, and convenient while also reaching across resources.
“Effective improvements in Earth system prediction necessitate significant advances across the Model-Experiment (ModEx) environment,” said Nicki Hickmon, Associate Director for operations for DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Office of Science at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.
The workshop narrowed down 17 issues relevant to the integrated water cycle and extreme weather occurrences within that cycle during the session. Experts debated nine topics connected to Earth system forecasts, including hydrology, watershed research, coastal dynamics; the atmosphere, land, oceans, and ice; and climatic variability and extremes.
Researchers analysed issues in each session that indicate the need for revolutionising AI technology and infrastructure to manage complicated tasks in environmental science. Participants investigated the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover scientific discoveries using technologies such as neural networks, knowledge-informed machine learning, AI architectures, and co-design.
“We need new AI methodologies that integrate process understanding and respect physical laws. (It is) to make estimations of Earth system behaviour scalable, trustable, and relevant under future climate regimes,” Charu Varadharajan, a research scientist at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, directs the Earth AI & Data Programme Domain, added.
Through the workshop and report, the researchers and scientists created 2-, 5-, and 10-year targets for the integrated framework development for each focal topic. They also identified priorities for Earth science, computational science, and programmatic and cultural improvements that would support the mission of AI4ESP.
Experts prepared a comprehensive list of scenarios in which AI research and development could help address some of Earth science’s most critical concerns. These challenges include handling and analysing massive volumes of data to increase the ability to detect and predict extreme events and promote the incorporation of human behaviours into theory and models.
Forrest Hoffman, group leader for the Computational Earth Sciences group at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, suggested developing new hybrid models that integrate process-based and ML-based modules is one of the most intriguing prospects.
The modelling frameworks allow for the addition of data regarding poorly understood processes, which can increase accuracy and often result in enhanced computational performance for Earth system models, allowing for more simulations and analyses to be performed within given resource constraints. The workshop provided a cross-disciplinary and cross-mission opportunity for the scientific and application communities to collaborate toward understanding the required advancements.
Programmatic and cultural adjustments are also required to promote a more cohesive mission across diverse scientific and government agencies and a skilled workforce capable of successfully integrating technology into humanistic research and activities. The experts offered options such as AI research centres focused on environmental science, frameworks that enable shared services across multiple communities, and continuing training and support missions.
This year, the government wants relevant ministries and agencies to tighten management and increase oversight of e-commerce activities to identify violations and prevent tax losses. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will work with departments from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Finance to share data and better regulate business activity on social media and in cyberspace.
The inspections will also focus on ensuring that e-commerce platforms and social networks are taking proper steps to screen, prevent and block accounts that do not provide adequate information or have signs of trading in counterfeit or illegal goods.
The E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will continue to collaborate with other government agencies such as the Market Management Agency, the Department of Cybersecurity and High-Tech Crime Prevention, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and MIC to inspect and monitor e-commerce businesses for compliance with the law, in accordance with plans approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade.
The agency will also evaluate existing policies and make practical changes to improve the management of e-commerce business activities. It will upgrade infrastructure and supporting services and incorporate new technologies to assist the digital transformation of businesses.
Furthermore, the agency will offer training to improve the inspection and handling of violations in e-commerce. It will organise events to promote anti-counterfeiting and encourage e-commerce website operators to better protect consumers’ interests.
Last year, Vietnam’s e-commerce industry continued to grow and become a significant distribution channel. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, e-commerce has been a leading sector in the digital economy. A survey from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that retail e-commerce revenue in Vietnam increased by 20% in 2022 as compared to 2021, reaching US$ 16.4 billion. This accounted for 7.5% of the total retail sales of goods and services in the country.
To establish trust for consumers in online shopping, safeguard legitimate traders, and foster e-commerce development, the government reviewed and requested e-commerce companies to remove or lock 1,663 stalls with 6,437 counterfeits or violated goods, and blocked five infringing websites.
Experts recommend that there should be regulations on the responsibility of information security of relevant organisations and individuals in order to prevent tax loss and protect business interests. This includes regulations on the security of websites and the responsibility to provide information to tax authorities, which would help make tax management more effective.
Associate Professor Le Xuan Truong, Director of the Academy of Finance’s Faculty of Taxation and Customs under the Ministry of Finance, suggested that the government should implement a regulation that forces e-commerce trading floors to be responsible for withholding and paying taxes on behalf of individuals as well as perform payment intermediary services and participate in operating and controlling delivery activities and receiving money from buyers. Over 40 countries worldwide so far have regulated the responsibility of e-commerce exchanges in deducting taxes of individuals if the floor provides payment services, or directly participates in the delivery and receipt of goods by buyers and sellers.
Sybill, an artificial intelligence tool, has been developed to estimate the risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the world’s deadliest cancer, accounting for 1.7 million fatalities in 2020, killing more people than the following three deadliest cancers combined. Consequently, it is critical to have an early detection solution to provide immediate treatment.
Cancer early identification AI tools can result in a better long-term outcome, according to MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health, Mass General Cancer Centre (MGCC), and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH). When it’s advanced, the five-year survival rate for the lung cancer patient is closer to 70%, compared to 10% when it’s early.
“It’s the worst cancer because it’s so common and so difficult to treat, especially once it’s advanced,” explained Florian Fintelmann, MGCC Thoracic Interventional Radiologist and Co-author of the current study.
Today’s images of the lung computed tomography (LDCT) procedure is presently the most common way people are checked for lung cancer to detect it early enough to be surgically removed. But Sybill takes the screening a step further in comparison to LDCT. It can forecast the likelihood of a patient acquiring lung cancer within six years by analysing LDCT imaging data without the intervention of a radiologist.
Co-author Peter Mikhael, an MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and an affiliate of Jameel Clinic and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), associated the procedure with “trying to identify a needle in a haystack”. However, Sybill successfully detects early-stage cancer with satisfactory results, as shown in a new article published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Fintelmann and his team labelled hundreds of CT scans with evident cancerous tumours that would be used to train Sybil before testing the model on CT scans with no discernible evidence of disease. The researchers took precautionary measures to ensure Sybil’s ability to identify cancer risk appropriately.
Sybil achieved C-indices of 0.75, 0.81, and 0.80 using a heterogeneous group of lung LDCT scans gathered from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), Mass General Hospital (MGH), and CGMH over six years. Models with a C-index score of more than 0.7 are regarded as good and models greater than 0.8 are considered strong, with 1.00 being the maximum attainable score. The ROC-AUCs for Sybil’s one-year prediction were considerably higher, ranging from 0.86 to 0.94.
Jeremy Wohlwend, an MIT electrical engineering and computer science PhD student and Jameel Clinic and CSAIL collaborator, was shocked by Sybil’s excellent score despite the absence of apparent disease. “We discovered that even while we [as humans] couldn’t see where the cancer was, the model could still predict which lung would eventually get cancer,” he described. “It was incredibly interesting that [Sybil] could identify which side was the more likely side.”
The 3D aspect of lung CT scans made Sybil challenging to create. Because early-stage lung cancer covers minuscule areas of the lung. It is just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of pixels that make up each CT scan. The radiology data used to train Sybil was essentially free of any indicators of malignancy. Lung nodules are denser areas of lung tissue that, while they have the potential to be malignant, are most of the time not and can be caused by healed infections or airborne irritants.
In the United State, many patients diagnosed with lung cancer today have never smoked or are former smokers who quit more than 15 years ago – characteristics that preclude both groups from receiving lung cancer CT screening in the United States. However, cancer can affect a young, healthy, and athletic individual. As a result, prevention is vital to saving more lives.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) have created a dolphin-like sonar device with a new echo processing technique that enables clearer underwater images compared to the traditional signal processing method of visualising sound echoes.
The new sonar processing method could have potential benefits in underwater commercial or military sonars. It could be used to scan the seabed to search for features that can be used to aid navigation. The sonar’s compactness also makes it suitable to be mounted on underwater robots for ocean exploration.
The processing method is based on the hypothesis that dolphins use prior information about their environment, apart from broadband sound pulses, to interpret their echoes. The sonar uses information on the sparsity of objects, which allows for a better interpretation of sound echoes.
According to a press statement, the new device provides a better trade-off between sonar-image clarity, the number of sensors, and the size of the sensor array used as compared to current sonars of similar size and purpose. Conventional echo processing techniques tend to fail when sensors are limited in number or widely spaced. The new sonar processing method, however, can extract information and yield image clarity even in these situations.
The researchers noticed that dolphins had the ability to scan underwater objects acoustically and match them visually, indicating that a dolphin’s sound echoes emitted off an object contain information about the object’s shape. They then recorded the echoes emitted by dolphins when scanning an object in the water.
Using their observations as a guide, the team constructed a biomimetic sonar that mimics a dolphin’s sonar system. The device, which is about the size of a dolphin’s head and measures 25 cm in width, is designed to emit sharp, impulsive clicking sounds, similar to those used by dolphins for echolocation.
The team employed three transmitters to send sounds from different directions. They then analysed the echoes produced by both the dolphin and the biomimetic sonar to visualise what information about the object’s shape was revealed in the echoes.
To complement the hardware, the team developed software that improves the visualisation of echoes. The researchers incorporated the concept of sparsity into the sonar’s software. This assumes that out of the space scanned, only a small percentage is occupied by the object. According to Hari Vishnu, Senior Research Fellow at NUS TMSI, “Using prior information, such as the idea of sparsity, is intuitive. It is something humans do all the time – we turn our understanding of reality into expectations that can speed up our inferences and decisions. For example, in the absence of other information, the human brain and vision system tend to assume that in an image, the light on an object will be falling from above.”
The effectiveness of the software was demonstrated when it was able to visualise information from a dolphin’s sonar echoes when scanning an object, as well as sonar signals produced by their compact sonar. A conventional approach to processing both sonar echoes resulted in noisy images. However, the novel processing approach gave better resolution and therefore sharper images. The software is also able to generate visualisations with a mere three clicks from the sonar, thus allowing it to be operationally fast.
HKSTP has entered a strategic partnership with a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company to position Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as a leader in life science innovation and set an example for the region. This is the first collaboration between HKSTP and the life sciences corporation that encompasses technology and data sharing.
The two are committed to promoting life science innovation and healthcare policy. They aim to provide a robust platform and support for start-ups in Hong Kong and mainland China by creating an ecosystem for healthcare start-ups. The goal is to make the Greater Bay Area a leader in life science and healthcare innovation and serve as a model for the rest of China in terms of technology application and registration. Additionally, they hope to establish the GBA as a hub for talent and corporates in the Asia Pacific region.
The principal areas of collaboration are:
- Shaping Policy – A white paper to articulate policy recommendations, organising a public forum and a round-table for an in-depth discussion with government officials;
- Co-incubation program – providing the start-ups with support and guidance on science, strategy and marketing, and creating a platform for the start-ups and potential partners to network and exchange; and,
- Data collaboration – Fostering a conducive data-sharing environment in the STP Platform and among stakeholders; exploring synthetic data generation tools; promoting the “data collaboration” concept to the community.
The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry was one of the witnesses to the Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony, he stated that the partnership aligns with the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint recently released.
With the strong support from the Central Government and the government’s commitment to I&T development, as well as Hong Kong’s unique advantages, the partnership will greatly contribute to the development of a world-class biomedical ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the partnering firm is a global pharmaceutical leader with strong connections to business leaders, scientists, marketers, and investors globally. It is believed that the partnership will foster the development of more health talents and significantly speed up growth in our medical research, drug development, and clinical trial processes.
The Head of the firm’s China-based innovation centre stated that the company is so glad to see this collaboration happen. It is hoped that the partnership can bridge HK and other cities in China for more opportunities to exchange, collaborate and empower start-ups; accelerate conversion and commercialisation; and to bringing hope to patients in China.
The APAC Sub Region 3 Head of the firm’s diagnostics arm noted that Hong Kong has a great foundation of scientific research. The firm looks forward to this collaboration in advancing high-quality research work, building a platform for innovation and benefiting the Asian population as well as the rest of the world.
The launch ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including the Under Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry; the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, the Head of APAC Area at the firm, the Head of the firm’s accelerator (CICoR), the General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau and Mr Ronald Lo, General Manager, at the firm’s Hong Kong and Macau diagnostics arms.
Recent research has found that the global life science analytics market size was valued at US$ 8.3 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing adoption of analytics by the life science industry, which uses descriptive and reporting analysis for building databases and prescriptive and predictive analysis for predicting future trends and results.
The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) plans to increase its efforts to attract foreign investors and make Malaysia a hub for investment, including Italian investors, who were recently informed of potential business opportunities and partnerships in industries such as chemicals, green technology, e-economy, smart technology, and Industry 4.0 value chains in Malaysia.
The Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) recently conducted a working visit to Italy from 20 to 23 January 2023 to enhance the business relationship between the two countries. As a result of this visit, several Italian companies have shown interest in investing in Malaysia as it is considered a strategic gateway to the ASEAN and Asia Pacific regions. The visit has also successfully attracted potential foreign direct investments (FDIs) worth RM3.25 billion, which are expected to be realised starting in 2023.
The Minister stated that in line with the government’s dedication to being pro-business, pro-investment and pro-trade, MITI and its agencies are ready to strengthen ties with investors that bring in high-tech and high-quality investments, which will aid in creating better-paying jobs for Malaysians.
From the foreign direct investment perspective, Malaysia is already acknowledged for its strategic location in Southeast Asia, diverse industrial ecosystem, and skilled talent pool. What is essential now is to address all the issues that investors face during their journey, to improve the overall ease of doing business in Malaysia.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) was also part of the Ministerial delegation. He noted that as a developing nation with a strong industrial and services sector, Malaysia is advancing to the next stage of development as its economy becomes more diversified to accommodate new areas of growth.
The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) continues to welcome high-quality foreign direct investments from all over the world, including from Italy. These investments play a crucial role in the development of Malaysia due to their positive impact on the economy and will continue to do so in the post-pandemic era.
During the visit, the Minister had individual meetings with several prominent business leaders and potential investors. Italy is the 9th largest foreign investor in Malaysia from the European Union. As of September 2022, a total of 77 manufacturing projects with Italian participation have been completed, with total investments of US$382 million (RM1.4 billion), creating 4,346 job opportunities.
Italy is known for having established many world-class high-tech companies and can provide various latest technologies and digitalization expertise. Therefore, the presence of Italian companies in Malaysia is considered vital in facilitating the transfer of technology and creating more knowledgeable workers in Malaysia.
Italy’s emerging green technologies are also essential in supporting Malaysia’s long-term strategic objective of attracting investments with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations, in line with the country’s New Investment Policy (NIP).
MIDA is the government’s principal investment promotion and development agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to oversee and drive investments into the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, MIDA has 12 regional and 21 overseas offices. MIDA continues to be the strategic partner to businesses in seizing the opportunities arising from the technology revolution of this era.