Singapore’s AI ambitions get a boost with a $740 million investment plan

The Singapore River and Merlion Park in the evening

Photography by Bobi | Open moment | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s plan to invest more than $743 million in artificial intelligence over the next five years could strengthen its position as a global business and innovation hub, technology executives said.

In his budget speech on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore will invest more than S$1 billion over the next five years to further enhance the country’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

“Surprisingly, nearly three-quarters of business leaders globally are not equipped for AI transformation, believing their preparation is limited by time, people and money,” said Nithin Chandra, managing partner of South- East Asia at Kearney, a global management consultancy. .

“This initiative will help ensure that companies can take advantage of technological advances and seize new opportunities,” Chandra said.

As part of the investment, Singapore will work to ensure access to advanced chips “that are so crucial to the development and deployment of artificial intelligence,” Wong said.

Singapore will also work with leading companies here and around the world to establish centers of excellence on artificial intelligence to spur innovation, he added.

“This will spur companies to adopt AI solutions, prioritize AI skills to keep their workforce competitive, and encourage strategic partnerships and knowledge sharing across the industry, thereby spurring overall innovation,” he said Jonathon Dixon, vice president and managing director of APAC at Cloudflarea global cloud services provider.

According to LinkedIn’s Future of Work report released in August, Singapore workers are already the fastest in the world when it comes to adopting AI skills.

“Increased focus and investment in AI capabilities, talent and industry development are also interesting and important for Singapore to strengthen its position as a business and innovation hub,” said Mao Gen Foo, head of South- East Asia at American experience management company Qualtrics.

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Singapore was among the first countries to release an AI plan in 2019. In December, the Southeast Asian nation launched the National AI Strategy 2.0, an updated version of its AI initiatives, which outlines ways to prepare the economy to harness and use artificial intelligence to empower workers. and businesses.

“Keep the focus on artificial intelligence and [machine learning] will ensure Singapore’s pre-eminence in technological advancements, strengthening its position as an attractive hub for business and talent in an increasingly digitalized global landscape,” said Pannie Sia, ASEAN Director General at Working dayan American provider of financial and human resources software.

Singapore has “very high” potential as a global AI hub thanks to an environment that stimulates innovation, Google Cloud executive Caroline Yap told CNBC in a previous interview.

The governance of artificial intelligence

To promote the responsible use of AI, in May 2022 Singapore launched AI Verify, the world’s first AI governance testing framework and software toolkit for enterprises. The tool allows users to conduct technical tests on their AI models and record process controls.

GoogleMeta and Microsoft are among the companies that have already tested the AI ​​Verify tool or provided feedback.

As AI adoption grows, consumers need to be reassured that their data is safe and that the technology is being used for good.

Sujith Abraham

Senior Vice President and General Manager, ASEAN, Salesforce

“The allocation of $1 billion for artificial intelligence, which also includes the safe implementation of the National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence 2.0, demonstrates the government’s commitment to promoting a trustworthy and responsible artificial intelligence ecosystem,” he said Sujith Abraham, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ASEAN at Salesforce.

“As AI adoption grows, consumers need to be reassured that their data is safe and that the technology is being used for good,” Abraham said.

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