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SG To Invest an Additional S$180 Million in AI Research; Launches Two New Public AI Programmes

Singapore has recently added two new public artificial intelligence (AI) programmes to its National AI Strategy and invested an additional S$180 million for its AI research, according to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat.

Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore

In his speech during the 2021 Singapore Fintech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology, DPM Heng said that the two AI Programmes are targeted towards the country's finance industry and government to build on the momentum around technologies that can yield a step-change. He also added that the two AI Programmes would also build on the momentum of the country's National AI Strategy, which was launched in 2019.

The National AI Programme in Finance, NovA!, is an industry-wide AI platform for financial risk insights generation. The AI is a collaboration between Singapore-based banks and local FinTech firms, which will assist financial institutions in assessing companies' environmental impact and identifying emerging environmental risks.

The AI was said to have been programmed to assess the investments needed to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, their associated risks and check against greenwashing. According to DPM Heng, the country would need around US$100 trillion worth of climate-aligned funding over the next three decades to achieve the targets.

The other AI, the National AI Programme in Government, was designed to improve the country's public sector service delivery using AI text analytics to better understand the numerous feedback received by frontline agencies.

The AI Programme was also intended to improve the country's national jobs portal job-matching using more personalised jobs and skills recommendations. DPM Heng stressed this particular aspect of the AI Programme as it can help the people who may have been displaced during the pandemic and are looking to switch to other industries. He also noted that the AI programme's pilot test improved total job placements by 20%.

He also added that the Singaporean government would be investing an additional S$180 million to its current investment of S$500 million in its AI research to put more funding on developing resource-efficient AI. Heng said that additional funding was needed because Singapore needs to train its machines better to learn from the small but high-quality datasets the country has due to its small size.

Although Singapore has seen initial returns in its research efforts due to the country being ranked first for AI publication impact, DPM Heng said that Singapore's investment in the research and development of AI is not large relative to global investments in this field. He explained that only by focusing on where the Singaporean government can make the most significant impact, can they make every effort count.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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