Singapore sets her sights on being a global hub for AI solutions

Picture by Frank V

Singapore outlined plans in November to establish itself as a global hub for developing, test-bedding, deploying, and scaling AI solutions, as part of its National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. This was announced by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Singapore, at the opening session of the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

According to Dr Balakrishnan, harnessing AI to transform Singapore’s economy and improve the lives of citizens is the next key step of her Smart Nation journey. Singapore’s National AI strategy is a plan to enable the country to seize the new opportunities brought about by AI, and create value for Singaporeans and also for the rest of the world.

Singapore will adopt a human-centric approach to AI, and focus on the use of the technology to deliver impactful social and economic benefits to Singaporeans, he continued. Five upcoming National AI projects have been identified in the following key sectors: Transport and Logistics, Smart Cities and Estates, Healthcare, Education, Safety and Security.

Welcoming international collaboration for success

Dr Balakrishnan conveyed Singapore’s welcome for opportunities to collaborate with businesses and talents worldwide to realize her strategy. “As Singapore transforms its key sectors through AI, there will be many opportunities for businesses and investors to work together to research, develop and deploy AI solutions,” he said.

“We aspire to be the launchpad for businesses to test these solutions and bring them to the rest of Southeast Asia, and beyond,” he continued.

Dr Balakrishnan reaffirmed his belief that Singapore’s effectiveness in deployment is a key attraction for partners. “As a city-state with a single layer of government, we can be nimble in adapting regulations and processes to facilitate the testing and deploying of new technology and solutions,” he explained.

“One example is in the development of platforms to share data securely and effectively across organisations, to facilitate the training and testing of AI algorithms. We have a technologically-savvy population, and are a global trade and economic hub,” he continued.

Singapore has invested over S$500 million to further AI research innovation and enterprise. The country will continue to raise its AI R&D capabilities, and strengthen the triple helix partnership between the research community, industry, and Government, to develop, deploy and commercialize AI solutions.

Singapore will also tap into international partnerships in areas like data sharing and digital identity cross recognition, to facilitate cross border AI collaboration to solve common challenges.

Dr Balakrishnan also shared Singapore’s interest in contributing to the global discourse on AI ethics and governance and her desire to work closely with key international organisations and standard-setting organisation to develop AI-related policies and standards.

He also announced the establishment of a National AI Office to drive the national AI agenda and to catalyze efforts across research, industry and government stakeholders to work on identified areas of priorities.