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Singapore tops AI disruption readiness index

Singapore has been ranked as the city which will be most prepared for the next wave of technology disruption as a result of artificial intelligence (AI).

This ranking based on the inaugural Global Cities AI Disruption Index by New York-based research outfit Oliver Wyman Forum.

The index ranked the AI readiness of 105 global cities.

AI and machine learning allow for the enhancement of low-level tasks by reducing the manpower hours for performing these tasks. Time and effort can be restructured towards performing other tasks.

AI is also expected to bring enhancements to modern living and more economic benefits.

The fear of AI taking over jobs, security and privacy risks to data and the risk of inequality as a result of AI being fed biased data are some of the reasons for other cities being ranked lower on the index.

The index scored the cities across the four groups of vision, activation ability, asset base and growth trajectory.

Singapore had received the highest total score of 75.8. It achieved high points in the vision category. This category looks at the current developed and established plans for embracing technology changes and for improving labour skills and infrastructure such as mobile networks.

The Singapore government is one of the few to have developed an AI governance framework for tackling ethical dilemmas in the use of AI.

This framework was shared at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in January this year.

Singapore’s government will also be setting up an inter-agency task force which will focus on studying ways in which Singapore can boost its AI capabilities and transform into a global hub for experimenting and launching AI solutions.

In the asset base category, the amount of intellectual property, labour productivity, tech talent, venture capital investments and the education level of the population were part of the assessments done in which Singapore had scored well too.

About S$900 million worth of funds have been put towards research and development of AI, robotics and supercomputers. This effort is under the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) five-year fund which is to end in 2021.

Some of the AI research done includes identifying patients susceptible to chronic diseases like diabetes, robots to perform mundane tasks and wearable sensors to allow for early detection of heart failure.

Singapore also has seen the establishment of data protection laws such as the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and various cybersecurity measures.

Mr Jacob Hook, managing partner of management consulting firm Oliver Wyman said, “Singapore stands out for its vision; it has a whole-of-government view on how AI is to be deployed across the society and has a high-level steering committee for this.”

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