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Credit: IBM

Credit: IBM

AI Singapore forges partnership to push Singapore’s AI Agenda

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.

From left to right: Mr Laurence Liew, Director, AI Singapore. Mr Abraham Thomas, Managing Director, IBM Singapore. Mr Peter Lam, Principal and CEO, Temasek Polytechnic (Credit: IBM)

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.

Credit: IBM

On 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.

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