Forum: Singapore has made moves to harness full potential of AI and ensure responsible use

We refer to Mr Ed Cheong Tuck Kuan’s letter, “Take steps to address impact of artificial intelligence on society” (Jan 9), and Mr Martin Lee Ming Han’s letter, “Embrace potential of chatbots” (Jan 11).

Singapore recognises the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for citizens and businesses, and has made some significant early investments into AI research.

To coordinate and focus our efforts on a national level, we launched the National AI Strategy in 2019. This is to deepen the use of AI in various sectors, build our AI ecosystem, and address the emergent risks as AI becomes more pervasive.

To ensure Singaporeans can reap the benefits of AI while being protected from the risks, Singapore has been actively taking steps to ensure that AI is used responsibly. As early as 2018, we set up an Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data to advise decision-makers on ethical, legal and policy issues arising from the commercial development of AI.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) worked with over 60 organisations locally and internationally to develop the Model AI Governance Framework to ensure that it is useful to and implementable by industry, and with regulators to develop specific AI governance guidelines for various sectors such as finance and healthcare.

Beyond ethical concerns, Singapore has also taken steps to help Singaporeans take on good jobs in the AI-driven economy. For instance, A Guide To Job Redesign In The Age Of AI, developed by IMDA and the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, was published to help companies manage AI’s impact on employees and prepare for the future of work.

Training programmes such as AI Singapore’s AI for Everyone and IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator help develop home-grown AI talent and prepare Singaporeans for the future AI economy.

To enable Singapore to remain at the forefront of AI research and development (R&D), we have invested in AI research and talent to build a strong AI ecosystem. We have built substantive AI R&D capabilities from our early investments, and are continuously looking out for ways to develop new solutions and apply novel technologies (such as OpenAI’s chatbot technology) to improve productivity and services for Singaporeans.

We will continue to monitor the impact of AI on different sectors, and adapt our AI governance efforts and strategic investments in R&D as the technology evolves. This will place Singapore in a good position to harness the full potential of AI, while mitigating its potential downsides.

Chng Zhenzhi (Dr)

Director (National AI Office)

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office

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