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Singapore – The Global Hub for Innovating on AI Solutions

Singapore has its eyes on being the frontrunner in technology and innovation, within the region. It aims to be the “living laboratory”, the hub for innovating on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made this statement while speaking at the opening segment of the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, on Tuesday, Nov 19.

He presented the advantages and capabilities, supporting the vision of Singapore being an AI hub in the world.

Experimentations and AI solutions testing will be effectively managed with agile regulations put in place. This is because Singapore’s government does not function with multiple structures, allowing for policies and regulations to be mandated more efficiently.

Dr Balakrishnan said that Singapore is well-equipped with the knowledge and capabilities of science, technology and engineering. “We get it and we’re able to make decisions quickly, pivot instantly and seek opportunities that new technology will provide,” he said.

He also added on Singapore’s capabilities, with it being a digitally literate population with top-notch first-world digital infrastructures.

These aspects tie in with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative. This initiative is focused on utilising the benefits of digital technology to improve citizen lives and optimise processes within the country.

Dr Balakrishnan believes that Singapore is making “good progress” at a fast rate for achieving the Smart Nation goals.

Shortage of manpower with the right skills was highlighted as one of the biggest challenges to achieving this goal. Dr Balakrishnan addressed that this must be acted upon as soon as possible.

He noted that while the aim is for Singapore to be a part of the international force and to work closely with them, the focus is still for Singaporeans to emerge at the top of their game and be a skilled force.

“Smart money” or the digital economy is another facet of the Smart Nation drive which is set to be enhanced.  Dr Balakrishnan encouraged more venture capitalists, angel investors, and mentors to come forth and share their networks and insight to further develop and grow this area.

At the base of it all, the focus should be on people and of how technology benefits them. Technology should have a positive impact and benefit them.

Privacy and safety are other aspects of AI which are held of high priority in Singapore. These measures are acted upon while ensuring that ethics is applied.

Dr Balakrishnan emphasised that these should not act as obstacles to Singapore gaining competitive advantage but rather as necessities to building trust among citizens as an exemplar of good governance.

National AI Strategy

Singapore has recently announced its new “National AI Strategy”- housing 5 national projects focusing on employing AI technologies such as machine learning and computer vision. 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 upon 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.

OpenGov Academy

In line with Singapore’s smart nation efforts of encouraging AI technology adoption, OpenGov has launched its OpenGov Academy, in collaboration with AlphaZetta.

The OpenGov Academy facilitates and promotes AI masterclasses, workshops and customised courses that are conducted by AlphaZetta and supported by OpenGov.

This academy will feature masterclasses across various levels: C-suite, management, business, and, expert.

The classes have been created to impart understanding – taught in an intuitive, accessible way, keeping formulae and mathematics to a bare minimum and taking an innate, visual approach.

Data literacy, AI and data science, and strategic decision making with data are some of the classes offered by the academy.

For more information, visit: OpenGov Academy

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