Singapore will set aside an additional USD133 million (SGD180 million) for AI research, says Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday. This comes on top of an initial USD370 million (SGD500 million) that was previously committed, as the nation state seeks to position itself as a leader in AI research and innovation.
Mr Heng shared the news at the Singapore Fintech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology 2021 this week.
As part of Singapore’s AI strategy to build a vibrant ecosystem for AI research and development, the new funds will be earmarked to both accelerate fundamental AI research and to leverage AI to deliver real world benefits.
“We are seeing initial returns on our research efforts. Singapore has been ranked first for AI publication impact. This is partly the result of the close collaboration between our industry partners and researchers,” he said in the full script published on the Prime Minister’s Office blog.
“To further increase our impact, Singapore is setting aside an additional S$180 million to accelerate fundamental and translational AI research.”
It is critical that stakeholders work together, says Mr Heng, noting that this is a common thread that runs through Singapore’s national AI strategy.
“As a small country, our datasets are also small. [So] we need to better train our machines to learn from small but high-quality datasets. Our investment in AI R&D is not large relative to global investments in this field. But by focusing on where we can make the greatest impact, we can make every effort count.”
Two new AI initiatives were also announced.
The National AI Programme in Finance will include an industry-wide AI platform “NovA!” that will generate insights about financial risks.
As reported by the Straits Times, the initial focus will be to help financial institutions better assess sustainability-related investments and associated risks such as greenwashing.
The National AI Programme in Government was also launched to improve the delivery of public sector services. Mr Heng explained that the use of AI text analytics will help the government better understand the feedback from front-line agencies and “understand the pain points” to better serve citizens.
It is understood that this includes the use of AI to refine job-matching on the national jobs portal, called MyCareersFuture. The new tool had apparently improved job placements by 20 percent in a pilot.
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