On 8 May, AI Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) to further efforts to enhance Singapore’s artificial intelligence
(AI) capabilities to power the future digital economy.
As a fundamental part of the
Singapore government’s AI push, AI Singapore aims to bring together government
agencies, institutes of higher learning, investors, industry players and
startups to advance AI research, development, and practical use in Singapore.
Under its latest collaboration
with IBM, AI Singapore will focus efforts on training
as well as research and development activities in the areas of scalable
high-performance AI and analytics framework based on the company’s
infrastructure for Machine Learning and AI work-loads.
Through this collaboration, AI Singapore and its partner will
engage in exchange of scientific, academic and technical information, including
joint research in AI. The partnership will also strengthen training under AI Singapore’s AI
Apprenticeship Programme, thus increasing and improving the quality of
Singapore’s AI and data science talent pool.
During the panel discussion
titled “Pushing the AI Agenda in Singapore”, Director for AI Industry
Innovation at AI Singapore, Mr Lawrence Liew, iterated that as a national
initiative to grow the AI talent pool, AI Singapore has three pillars: AI
research, AI technology and AI innovation. It supports fundamental research on
AI, identify and address grand challenges about industry innovations across
sectors, and building a AI talent pipeline.
On the relevance
of AI to Singapore and the region, Mr Liew highlighted that developments in AI allows
tasks to be performed at an accuracy level close to, or even beyond, human
performance. Such breakthroughs imply huge productivity possibilities and
lowering of cost to provide solutions.
When asked if AI
will take over jobs, Mr Liew stated that while AI will not replace human
beings, certain jobs that involves single tasks, such as driving, will be
replaced. However, he emphasised that many jobs today require us to perform
multiple tasks, with the help of technology like AI, it could possibly free up
people’s time for higher value-added tasks, provided that they are willing to
learn new skills and adapt.
For those who are
interested to learn more about AI, other than joining AI Singapore’s AI Apprenticeship Programme, Mr Liew shared
that with access to internet and even free wifi in public spaces, learning can
be free. Given the fact that many AI tools are open source, it means that the
technology is freely available for those who are willing to learn.
“The problem in learning
about AI is not the lack of materials and tools. The problem is that there are
too many resources and not knowing which one to pick,” he said.
the same day, Temasek
Polytechnic (TP) also signed
a MoU to explore AI technologies
to improve collaboration, productivity and effectiveness in delivering advice
to teachers and students, and corporate services in the institution.
According to Principal and CEO of TP
Mr Peter Lam, educators should keep up with latest developments and look beyond
the horizon to prepare student who are about to enter the workforce and help
adult learners to adapt amidst transitions.
To further strengthen AI
knowledge and skills transfer, the partnership will also see the establishment
of an AI Application Centre within TP to train students and staff on AI
capabilities. The long-term partnership between
Temasek Polytechnic and IBM enable
the identification and co-creation of AI-based pilot
projects within TP.
An example is the AskTP, an AI-enabled course advisor
chatbot which was launched
earlier this year with the aim of improving student engagement and decision making process. Expanding on this
initiative, TP will also develop a cross-polytechnic course finder, giving
holistic information access to all prospective students and parents.
According to Mr Lam, AskTP offer
advise based on students’ interest and results. The AI-enable course advisor
also caters to students’ needs as it can operate outside of office hours,
making it a good channel to reach out to students.