AI The Game Changer for Government

AI The Game Changer for Government

Resorts World Convention Centre SentosaSingapore

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Imagine a smart traffic management system pulling in data from a network of CCTVs and sensors, analysing it in real-time for optimisation of traffic signals and detection of accidents. Computers looking at CT scans to determine if an individual has cancer or not. Citizens getting immediate answers to complex queries regarding public services from a chatbot. Customers walking into a fast food store using their faces to pay. Smart gates at airports providing an automated border control system based on travellers’ biometrics. Police systems using facial recognition to instantaneously match faces against databases of millions or even billions of photographs.

You don’t need to imagine any of this. All these technologies are already here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer science-fiction. No longer confined to a lab, AI has stepped out to the world and is taking bigger strides every day; transforming our lives and societies, taking over diverse fields, from finance, transport and healthcare to government service delivery and public safety.

Here in Singapore, AI is also playing a key role in the achievement of Singapore’s Smart Nation aspirations. Taking the example of facial recognition, which is just one manifestation of AI, the Government is exploring its wide range of applications.

Biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, could be used to enhance the security for identification, authentication and authorisation, as part of its new National Digital Identity (NID) framework

  • At the newly opened state-of-the-art Terminal 4 (T4) of Singapore’s Changi Airport, facial recognition technology has been incorporated into a suite of Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) options
  • The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is piloting the use of facial recognition for security screening at bases
  • The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is working with the hotel industry to come up with suitable prototypes for using facial recognition to facilitate guest check-in
  • Local and overseas train operators have expressed interest in ST Electronics' facial recognition-enabled fare gates, which can process up to 60 passengers walking through a minute, compared to the current method of tapping-in that tops out at 40 people per minute.

The list goes on. In fact, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited Beijing last year, he took the time to tour the office and meet officials from the Chinese AI firm, SenseTime. PM Lee saw how AI and computer vision analysed, in real-time, the dozens of vehicles and people crossing a busy intersection watched by traffic cameras. The system could match a car's plate to its model and colour, and identify a pedestrian's gender, age-range and attire, among other things.

Implementing such a system in Singapore would fulfil the vision that PM Lee sketched out in his National Day Rally speech in 2017, “Many cities already have comprehensive CCTV and sensor networks. And they also can integrate the inputs from all the sources, analyse and make sense of the information, and respond promptly if there is an incident or an emergency.”

PM Lee talked about how Singapore has already embarked on this journey, by building a network of sensors, especially CCTV cameras.

We are learning to analyse this combined data, for example, using artificial intelligence to automatically flag when something unusual is happening. So, if I have 10,000 cameras, I do not need 1,000 people watching those cameras. I just need maybe just 10 people. Each person can watch 1,000 cameras and if the AI detects that something funny is happening, it will pop up and the man can pay attention and a response can be directed. So, one day if we have an incident like the Boston Bombings, then the Home Team can assess the situation quickly and respond promptly, or even pre-empt it from happening [PM Lee]

This presents in a nutshell what can be accomplished through AI technology, as it exists today. AI is no longer a fancy, exotic technology. Its adoption is an imperative.

Dr Yan is a leading researcher in the fields of deep learning, as well as parallel computing, which underlies the GPUs at the heart of deep learning systems. Before joining SenseTime, Dr. Shengen Yan worked at Minwa project, the world’s largest deep learning supercomputer then, at Baidu Research.

Dr Yan will share his expertise and experience regarding infrastructure requirements for deep learning, as well as the cutting-edge technologies he is working on at SenseTime and their applications in the public-sector context, as SenseTime counts 40 local Chinese governments as clients.