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Singapore to deliver 100 AI solutions for real-world problems

Nurdianah Md Nur | May 3, 2017
S$150 million has been set aside to catalyse, synergise and boost the republic’s AI capabilities over the next five years

human in front of brain
Credit: GraphicStock

Singapore has launched AI.SG, a national programme that aims to catalyse, synergise and boost Singapore's artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The initiative will be driven by a government-wide partnership comprising the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SGInnovate, and the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS).

NRF will invest up to S$150 million over five years in AI.SG to achieve three objectives.

The first objective is to use AI to address major challenges that affect society and industry. This includes exploring the use of AI to increase traffic throughput during peak hour.

The second is to invest in deep capabilities to catch the next wave of scientific innovation, including AI systems that exhibit more human-like learning abilities as well as adjacent technologies such as computing architectures.

To do so, the NRF Fellowship and Investigatorship schemes will support such scientific activities. Local talents will also be trained by being involved in the development of those deep capabilities.

The final objective is to broaden the adoption and use of AI and machine learning. AI.SG will thus work with companies to use AI to raise productivity, create new products, as well as translate and commercialise solutions from labs to market.

AI.SG aims to deliver 100 AI projects and proofs-of-concept to solve real-world problems for end-users.  It will start with the finance, healthcare and city management sectors given AI's big potential in these areas, shared Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information at innovfest unbound 2017.

He added: "For example, in about three years' time, doctors and nurses could find themselves immersed in simulated emergency situations, and interact with virtual patients in realistic augmented reality-based environments to enhance their training for better patient care."


Supporting the AI community in Singapore

Besides research institutions, AI.SG will work with AI startups and corporate laboratories to harness the significant AI capabilities in the industry.

AI.SG will also nurture a local community of doers and thinkers in AI through a makerspace environment. Such an environment will offer shared resources and facilities designed to maximise community interaction, collaboration, as well as encourage the adoption of AI.SG's intellectual properties such as software tools and frameworks released under appropriate open source licence and anonymised datasets.

In addition, AI.SG will work closely with the new Singapore Data Science Consortium to synergise the use of data in deepening AI technologies, and the use of AI to automate and develop better, actionable insights.

"AI.SG builds on the current AI knowledge and capabilities that we have build up across our Singapore-based research institutions with our past R&D investments. I am confident that the modality of AI.SG will fully integrate existing R&D and facilitate the translation of R&D into solutions for business commercialisation and better provision of public services," said Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO, NRF.


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