In November 2019, Singapore launched a National AI Strategy consolidating all current existing initiatives related to AI, such as those with AI Singapore (AISG), a national AI program launched by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2017 with funding of SGD 150 million (USD 108 million) over 5 years.
The National AI Strategy aims to make Singapore a global hub for developing, test-bedding, and implementing AI solutions, as well as ensure that the Singapore government and companies use AI to generate economic gains and improve lives, and to help the workforce to be competent in an AI-driven economy. A National AI Office has been established under the SNDGO to lead the implementation of the Strategy.
As part of the strategy, the government has identified 5 National AI Projects which were chosen because of their high social and economic impacts: 1) Intelligent Freight Planning; 2) Seamless and Efficient Municipal Services; 3) Chronic Disease Prediction and Management; 4) Personalized Education through Adaptive Learning and Assessment; and 5) Border Clearance Operations.
The strategy also outlines five key enablers: partnership between the research community, industry and government; AI talent and education; data architecture; progressive and trusted environment; and international collaboration.
The government is seeking to adopt a human-centric approach in development and adoption of AI. This involves getting AI to serve human needs, rather than developing the technology for its own sake, and addressing the risks and governance issues. A*STAR’s Human-Centric AI R&D program is an example of this approach. The team has started to create capabilities that enable robots to understand human interactions such as speech, gestures and touch. The team aims to make robots that can be “taught” by instruction and demonstration. This will allow robots to work collaboratively with humans without the need for specialized infrastructure or dedicated setup. The program will also integrate social sciences, such as psychology and sociology, in the development of AI. This will allow AI systems to better understand culture and social norms (especially Asian cultures and norms) and human intentions.
(Sources: The Straits Times; Smart National Digital Government Office, Singapore)