Singapore releases Model AI Governance Framework

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Photo Courtesy: Franck V on Unsplash

Singapore has released its Model Artificial Intelligence (AI) Governance Framework for public consultation, pilot adoption and feedback. The framework is the first in Asia to provide detailed and readily implementable guidance to private sector organisations to address key ethical and governance issues when deploying AI solutions. 

The framework is also a living document, intended to be agile in evolving with the fast-paced changes in a digital economy and expected to continue to develop alongside adoptees use. The release of the Model Framework, was announced by S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 22-25 January 2019. 

The two high-level guiding principles underpinning this Model Framework are to help organisations ensure that decisions made by or with the assistance of AI are explainable, transparent and fair to consumers; and their AI solutions are human-centric. 

This in turn enhances trust in and understanding of AI, as well as acceptance of how AI-related decisions are made for the benefit of users. 

The Model Framework builds on the themes first raised in a discussion paper released in June 2018 by Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) and Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). It maps out the key ethical principles and practices that apply to common AI deployment processes in four areas: Internal governance structures and measures;Risk management in autonomous decision-making;Operations management; andCustomer relationship management

V K Rajah S C, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data supported the release of the Model AI Governance Framework for a broader consultation: “The Model Framework provides practical guidance to organisations deploying AI at scale to do so with good internal governance and in an ethical manner. The Advisory Council encourages businesses to pilot the Model Framework and provide feedback from their implementation experience. We look forward to reviewing the comments from the public consultation and proposing improvements in the next edition.”

Singapore also announced a collaboration with the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) to further drive AI and data innovation. The agreement was signed by IMDA, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, and the World Economic Forum. 

IMDA and the WEF will be engaging organisations to discuss the Model Framework in greater detail and facilitate its adoption. Work has already commenced, with closed-door discussions led by the C4IR and IMDA to seek feedback on the Model Framework, as well as to generate and understand use cases and practical examples. The C4IR and IMDA will also develop a measurement matrix for the Model Framework which regulators and certification bodies globally can adopt and adapt for their use in assessing whether organisations are responsibly deploying AI. IMDA and the C4IR will also develop a discussion paper outlining policy options on the facilitation of cross-border data flows under the collaboration.

Murat Sonmez, Managing Director, Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, said, “Singapore is focused on innovation and technology. As the country develops forward-looking technology policies, we welcome them as a partner of the Centre Network. We are looking forward to their contribution to our network for global technology governance.” 

Singapore aims to advance its vision to be a leading digital economy and smart nation, continually embracing digital transformation and reinventing itself to remain globally competitive. The Model Framework is part of Singapore’s efforts to do so through investing and building capabilities in AI.