Singapore plans to set up a research programme on the governance of AI and data use

According to information on the Integrated Grant Management System (IGMS), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) seek to collaborate with an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) to set up a Research Programme on the Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Use. The project is now calling for proposals.

This NRF-IMDA collaboration targets to achieve the three strategic objectives of: (1) promote cutting edge thinking and practices in AI and data policies and regulations, (2) inform AI and data policy and regulation formulation in Singapore through research publications and stakeholder engagement events and activities, and (3) establish Singapore as a global thought leader in AI and data policies and regulations.

Data is often regarded as a basic building block of a digital economy. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are often data-driven and accelerated by the exponential growth in data volume, increasing computational power at lower costs. With proper deployment, data-driven technologies can boost labour productivity and serve as a driver of economic growth.

At the same time, many are worried about the negative impact of AI on the society, such as large-scale job displacement. There are also increasing debates and concerns about the legal, regulatory and ethical implications of the commercial deployment of AI.

This research programme that specifically targets the governance of AI and data use aims at helping Singapore develop strategies to harness data as an asset to achieve data-driven innovation, especially in the fast-changing technology landscape. It will also help build public confidence in Singapore’s transition into an innovation-driven knowledge economy.

The Research Programme on the Governance of AI and Data Use aims to bring together local expertise in technology regulation, and consider the legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in AI and other data-driven technologies. It will also look beyond Singapore by surveying international perspectives and tracking international developments in these research areas.

Academic research and collaborations are key in this programme. The IHL hosting the programme is expect to: (1) conduct and publish research in academic journals and books, (2) explore research topics through academic endeavours such as colloquia, seminars and working papers, (3) facilitate exchange of ideas through symposiums and conferences. All these efforts will allow research members, AI and data experts and policy thinkers to come together and share latest thinking and research. In

In terms of the management of the programme, a Management Team will be appointed from faculty staff of the hosting IHL, while the Executive Committee will comprise of senior representatives from government agencies such as the NRF and IMDA.  The Executive Committee will be advised by an external Advisory Panel, comprising subject matter experts from public and private sectors, industry domains and legal community.

Due to the evolving nature of AI and data use, funding for the Research Programme has been planned for 5 years. The open call for proposal from local IHLs and public research institutions in Singapore has been launched on 5 January 2018.

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