Singapore announces new initiatives on AI governance

Photo by Franck V.

Singapore announced in January 2020 a set of new initiatives on AI governance to enhance consumer trust. These are an Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations (“ISAGO”), a Compendium of Use Cases, and the second edition of the Model AI Governance Framework. They are key components of Singapore’s National AI Strategy to encourage innovation and build public trust in AI.

These initiatives follow Singapore’s launch of the Model AI Governance Framework in Davos in 2019, as well as the announcement of Singapore’s National AI Strategy in November 2019, and demonstrate the progress made in supporting organisations in deploying responsible AI.

The new initiatives were announced by Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, and Ms Kay Firth-Butterfield, AI Portfolio Head at the World Economic Forum, at a joint press conference with the WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“WEF C4IR”) at WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

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Commenting on the initiatives, Mr V K Rajah SC, Chairman of Singapore’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data said, “As AI becomes more pervasive, it is important to build a trusted environment for its use through a multi-stakeholder effort involving public, private and people sectors.” He reiterated his organisations support for “such efforts in creating an enabling environment for our businesses and citizens.”

Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) and the WEF C4IR announced a collaboration in 2019 to grow discourse on and further AI and data innovation. The result of this collaboration is the newly co-developed ISAGO. Intended as a companion guide to the Model Framework, ISAGO aims to help organisations assess the alignment of their AI governance practices with the Model Framework.

It also provides an extensive list of useful industry examples and practices to help organisations implement the Model Framework. The guide was developed in close consultation with the industry, with contributions from over 60 organisations.

Compendium of Use Cases

To complement the Model Framework and ISAGO, IMDA has also released a Compendium of Use Cases (“Compendium”) that demonstrates how local and international organisations across different sectors and sizes implemented or aligned their AI governance practices with all sections of the Model Framework. The Compendium also illustrates how the featured organisations have effectively put in place accountable AI governance practices and benefited from the use of AI in their line of business.

Second Edition of Model AI Governance Framework

To keep pace with AI’s rapid development, Singapore has consulted organisations using AI in Singapore and abroad on how to further strengthen the Model Framework and its four areas . The second edition includes additional considerations (such as robustness and reproducibility) and refines the original Model Framework for greater relevance and usability.

In the global discourse on AI ethics and governance issue, Singapore believes that its balanced approach can facilitate innovation, safeguard consumer interests, and serve as a common global reference point.