OpenGov Asia acknowledges the advancements made by Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in their utilisation of technology within the public sector.
The agencies have streamlined government processes and are pushing new boundaries with the Active Surveillance System for Adverse Reactions to Medicines and Vaccines (ASAR) Project. The initiative is an extension of IHiS and HSA’s ongoing efforts to actively monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines approved in Singapore.
The ASAR project empowers HSA to proactively monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved in Singapore, ensuring that the benefits outweigh possible risks and that the vaccinations remain safe and efficacious.
To achieve this, ASAR complements the conventional approach of spontaneous adverse event (AE) reporting with active surveillance, using de-identified electronic health records to detect and validate potential safety signals.
By leveraging ASAR-based investigations and findings, HSA was able to detect early safety signals and implement timely risk mitigation measures to safeguard public health. This approach has also assisted in informing vaccination policies by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V).
These efforts have resulted in IHiS and HSA receiving the prestigious OpenGov Asia Recognition of Excellence Award, which will be presented at the 8th Annual Singapore OpenGov Leadership Forum 2023.
ASAR Impact on Surveillance Health in Singapore
Jalene Poh, the Director of the Vigilance and Compliance Branch at HSA, acknowledges that achieving population-wide immunity has been crucial to Singapore’s strategy for exiting the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out to almost the entire population of Singapore.
“With such a nationwide deployment, there was a need to establish an active safety surveillance system for early detection of emerging safety signals and more comprehensive safety monitoring, instead of relying mainly on spontaneous reporting of adverse events by healthcare professionals and companies,” Jalene explains.
The establishment of this system within a short timeframe was the result of collaboration across the entire government, which began well before the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved in Singapore. As a result, the interoperability and accessibility of databases played a critical role in the successful implementation of ASAR.
Leveraging access to extensive datasets, HSA, IHiS, MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) worked expeditiously to set up the necessary IT systems and processes for recording all COVID-19 vaccinations.
In addition, they ensured that the requisite datasets were incorporated into the Business Research Analytics Insights Network (BRAIN) and updated daily. This enabled HSA and IHiS to develop ASAR’s analytical tools.
Andy Ta, the Director of Data Analytics & AI and Chief Data Officer at IHiS, emphasises that ASAR is an active surveillance programme established to facilitate the safety monitoring of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, by harnessing electronic medical records on a national level.
To detect and analyse pharmaceutical safety signals, ASAR employs AI to centrally aggregate over 2 million de-identified structured and unstructured records from various sources every day.
An AI-powered deep-learning algorithm for detecting adverse events related to medicines has been implemented and is layered on top of the records. This algorithm allows HSA officers to identify possible links between reported symptoms and the medicines or vaccines administered.
The implementation of this system has made it easier for HSA to conduct further research, which could lead to better safety measures to safeguard public health.
According to Jalene, ASAR has enabled HSA to identify and analyse possible safety signals, such as the incidence of adverse events in the vaccinated population and associated risk factors. This facilitates prompt action to mitigate safety risks.
For example, ASAR helped HSA analyse the adverse events of anaphylaxis, which is a rare and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction and myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.
As a result, risk mitigation strategies were introduced, including a 30-minute observation period after COVID-19 vaccination to monitor for anaphylaxis and advising individuals to refrain from engaging in strenuous physical activity for two weeks following vaccination to prevent myocarditis.
ASAR was also used by HSA to examine the frequency of serious events, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), occurring after COVID-19 vaccination. Their findings showed no increase in the occurrence of these events post-vaccination compared to before vaccination.
HSA publishes its safety findings to keep the public and healthcare professionals up to date on the current safety profile of the COVID-19 vaccines. As of February 2023, a total of 14 safety reports have been published, which helped instil public confidence in the vaccines used in the national vaccination campaign.
Jalene suggests that while doctors and drug companies are typically responsible for reporting adverse events in traditional adverse event monitoring systems, there may be a significant amount of underreporting and delays in reporting.
“The use of electronic health records for safety surveillance offers significant opportunities to tap real-world data to detect and quantify the risk of adverse events in near real-time,” she is convinced.
ASAR is the first nationwide system that utilises both structured and unstructured medical records taken from public acute hospitals and national databases to conduct active safety surveillance on a secure platform called BRAIN.
The successful implementation of ASAR paves the way for active safety surveillance to be used on all locally supplied medicines and vaccines to identify and validate potential safety signals.
According to Andy, HSA and IHiS collaborated to develop tools that leverage the nature of their existing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data to detect, analyse, and confirm potential safety signals. ASAR was developed quickly using an iterative and agile approach, with new features added every 8 to 10 weeks to enhance its functionality.
ASAR has 5 key elements that include built-in analytics and AI. These features let users form a cohort based on pre-set parameters and explore different data domains to look for possible safety signals associated with medicines or vaccines.
The “Smart to Search” option facilitates the quick and easy identification of the desired cohort. Its ability to aggregate information from diverse clusters and over time into a unified, patient-centred view is also extremely valuable.
The system utilises AI to generate visualisations and provide contextual insights, enabling users to quickly make informed decisions. The annotation functions simplify collaboration between pharmacists and analysts and provide the AI model with human input, allowing for continuous improvement.
All of these enable HSA analysts to quickly identify groups of interest, such as patients who experienced adverse events after receiving vaccinations.
The patient-level clinical review tool provides pharmacovigilance officers with a user-friendly means of examining the medical records of such patient groups and deriving insights from them, Jalene believes. It makes it easier to conduct well-controlled pharmacoepidemiological analyses and quantify the link between vaccine exposure and potential adverse event outcomes of interest.
The enhanced safety monitoring enabled by ASAR and the patient-level clinical review tool results in more comprehensive surveillance and timely interventions, ultimately enhancing the safety of vaccines and medicines for Singapore.
Andy explained that they adopted a multi-pronged approach to managing their data, incorporating industry best practices to ensure compliance with regulations, safeguard privacy, and maintain the integrity of the data processed by their systems.
This strategy helps make sure that business decisions are based on data that can be trusted and is correct and includes:
- A governance structure where owners and stakeholders are identified early on
- Creating strong data processes in place for collection, anonymisation, storing, processing and analysing
- Adopting the right tools, platform and technology to establish a secure data infrastructure to manage the data with the analytics environment
BRAIN-Powered: ASAR’s Core for Modern Analytics
The core of ASAR is BRAIN, which boasts a robust, modern analytics architecture that enables the addition of new features and use cases to address evolving needs, Andy reveals.
BRAIN runs “on top” of hospitals’ existing data warehouse infrastructure and retrieves the most up-to-date data from source systems as soon as it becomes available.
BRAIN is separated into development and implementation environments with similar system configurations. This greatly reduces the time and effort needed to put the different modules for predictive analytics, data analysis, signal detection, signal validation, and benefit-risk assessment of medicines and vaccines into production.
“To manage the vast and high-velocity data required for the ASAR, we utilise existing data pipelines and perform real-time pipeline processing. Different techniques such as batch, real-time or a combination of the two are used to ensure smooth performance of the analytics,” Andy elaborates.
Technology and data analytics will be the key to changing the healthcare system as Singapore moves to a “Healthier SG” to help Singaporeans take charge of their health.
ASAR can efficiently and accurately look at large amounts of data to learn important things about the safety and effectiveness of medicines and vaccines. Machine learning algorithms can assist analysts in quickly identifying cohorts of interest by investigating both structured records and unstructured notes at the patient and cohort level, enabling valuable insights for medicine safety surveillance.
There is a chance that ASAR could be broken up into different parts, such as modules that do strategic segmentation and analysis of textual information and could be used by other healthcare institutions to analyse patients.
Moreover, a feedback loop can be set up with ASAR so that healthcare institutions can share information about the safety of medicines to help with clinical care.
“ASAR has enabled HSA to detect, analyse and validate potential safety signals associated with COVID-19 vaccines, and has laid a strong foundation to scale up our capabilities,” says Jalene.
There are approximately 5,500 medicines and vaccines registered in Singapore, and numerous novel medicines and vaccines are expected to be introduced in the future due to paradigm shifts in medicine development.
This will necessitate the implementation of rigorous safety monitoring and HSA and IHiS are actively working towards the refinement of ASAR to meet this need.
“Our primary objective is to prioritise the continuous improvement of ASAR’s infrastructure, technology, and operations to access real-world data for the detection and quantification of the risk of adverse events,” confirms Jalene, “Ultimately we want to ensure that the benefit-risk ratio of medicines and vaccines administered in Singapore remains positive for public safety.”
ASAR modules may be included in any other analytical platform including electronic health records, such as the newly created MOH Consolidated Data Repository. This will enable the adaptability and evolution of diverse data sources and data systems, as well as the interoperability of systems.
“We will continue to future-proof our technologies so that if we are faced with another pandemic or other similar events in the future, we will be undaunted,” she reiterates.
Agile Mindset: Team Adoption for Evolving Product
Andy says that their team is constantly exploring state-of-the-art tools and algorithms to enhance the capabilities of ASAR. “For instance, we are looking at graph analytics and algorithms to better understand how patients interact with the different touchpoints within the health system through their care journey resulting from a health event of interest, such as an adverse event.”
By mapping the patient healthcare journey more holistically, they hope to better uncover early safety signals and valuable insights quickly and more accurately.
The team is currently investigating the possibility of incorporating embedding and tokenisation layers from state-of-the-art Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) and T5 (Text-To-Text Transfer Transformer), to further improve the performance of their AI model, adds Jalene.
The development of this project was accelerated by leveraging two key methodologies: Agile and Design Thinking.
As per Andy, the development team embraces an agile management style that emphasises adaptability, cooperation and continuous improvement. Rather than adhering rigidly to a pre-established strategy, the agile model involves creating an outline, delivering something in a short timeframe and making adjustments based on the evolving project requirements.
To build a flexible application, they employ web frameworks such as SpringBoot and Angular that allow modularisation and experimentation. They regularly organise user meetings to involve HSA users from the outset, starting from wireframe creation through to feedback collection before final production. The goal is to prioritise and establish defined, agreed-upon deliverables for each iterative release.
They have design thinking and user interaction sessions to identify other possibilities where analytics and AI could play an active role. Post-It notes and charts are used to map out the user experience and identify potential opportunities and gaps.
Knowing the consumers’ end goal makes it easier for the team to transform that aim into well-defined project requirements and objectives.
The key, according to Jalene, is to have a shared vision and objective, which is to transition from passive to active medicine safety surveillance utilising electronic health records and analytics. “Once the various members comprehend the significance of their task, they see themselves as indispensable members of a team collaborating to accomplish something significant.”
Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and challenge the status quo. In case of any problems or disagreements, they meet and openly discuss the issues, identify limitations, and arrive at a resolution before moving forward.
The team members are expected to adopt an agile mindset, where they view the application as an evolving product, work in sprints, prioritise specific enhancements and gradually release new versions with each iteration.
Andy explains that in the daily checkpoint meetings, the team’s progress will be monitored, and members will be requested to report any issues or concerns. Because of their great team dynamic, members step up to offer advice on other members’ queries, even if they are not directly involved.
If any impediments are detected during these daily check-ins, assignments can be swiftly recalibrated to meet the deadline once a clear timeframe has been established. These strategies allowed the team to swiftly develop ASAR, with updates being provided every 8 to 10 weeks to broaden its functionality.
IHiS and HSA are dedicated to advancing public service through the collective efforts of all team members and their endeavours to broaden technological applications in the public sector.
The team is confident that they can continue to serve the country by combining IHiS’s objective to digitise, connect, and analyze Singapore’s health ecosystem with HSA’s purpose to wisely regulate health products and protect public health.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.
Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.
From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.
Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.
Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.
The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.
Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.
Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.
Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.
The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.
The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.
This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.
A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.
Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.
Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.
The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.
Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.
The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.
The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.
Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.
NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.
According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.
The Indonesian government actively strives to implement thematic Bureaucratic Reform (RB) directly addressing societal issues. Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that innovation is one way to realise impactful bureaucracy.
To create impactful bureaucracy through innovation, the PANRB Ministry, which oversees public services, encourages local governments to replicate innovations through the Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP). This is done to expand the reach of inventions and make them an integral part of the Bureaucratic Reform effort. The PANRB Ministry, as the overseer of public services, pays special attention to the steps local governments take in implementing innovations in public service delivery.
The Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP) is a platform for local governments to share and discuss their experiences adopting specific innovations. By sharing best practices and learnings, local governments can gain valuable insights to enhance the quality of public services at the local level.
Furthermore, Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that inter-government collaboration is critical to building an innovative and positively impactful bureaucracy. “Through FRIPP, we encourage local governments to inspire and adopt innovations that have proven to provide real benefits to the community,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the PANRB Ministry, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Administrative Agency (LAN), successfully launched the National Public Service Innovation Network (JIPPNas) website as a knowledge management system and the national database for public service innovations.
JIPPNas represents a concrete step in building an innovation ecosystem at the national level. This platform allows local governments to share ideas, projects, and innovative solutions in delivering public services. With this platform, other local governments can easily access and adopt innovations, accelerating the spread of best practices.
“Therefore, the presence of JIPPNas is expected to be an effort to grow new public service models through collaboration to achieve the future government,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In the discourse of Future Government, Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas outlined four main focus areas of the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which serve as the foundation for ambitious goals: poverty alleviation, increased investment, digitisation of government administration, and accelerating the current President’s priorities. Emphasis on these areas is crucial to ensuring that the bureaucracy is an effective and efficient driving force in realising the government’s vision and mission.
Minister Anas stressed the importance of a prime bureaucratic condition as a foundation to achieve the desired goals. Like a machine that must be well-maintained, the bureaucracy is directed to be able to drive the “vehicle” of the government towards the desired direction. Thus, the success of implementing the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform involves not only structural transformation but also upholding the quality and readiness of the bureaucracy as the primary driver of development.
Addressing Future Governance or Governance 5.0, Minister Anas detailed a significant paradigm shift. The “government regulating society” transitions to “Government working together with society,” or more precisely, considering society as a partner. This concept marks an evolution in how the government interacts with society, creating closer and more inclusive collaboration.
The importance of support from strategic partners such as Indonesia Infrastructure Project Governance (IIPG) is also highlighted. As a supporter of public governance reform, IIPG significantly contributes to maintaining synergy and harmonisation of roles across multi-sectors, both from the private and public sectors. This synergy is crucial in maintaining optimal performance and achieving public governance reform goals.
In line with the paradigm shift and focus on reform, these steps mark the government’s severe efforts to build a foundation for an adaptive, responsive, and actively engaged Future Government. Thematic Bureaucratic Reform is not just about structural transformation but also an effort to create a governance ecosystem capable of meeting the challenges and demands of the times effectively and competitively.
The 21st century is frequently called the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), prompting questions about its societal implications. It actively transforms numerous processes across various domains, and research ethics (RE) is no exception. Multiple challenges, encompassing accountability, privacy, and openness, are emerging.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) have been instituted to guarantee adherence to ethical standards throughout research. This scoping review seeks to illuminate the challenges posed by AI in research ethics and assess the preparedness of REBs in evaluating these challenges. Ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment are essential to address these concerns.
To sustain this awareness, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a part of the Department of Energy, has joined the Trillion Parameter Consortium (TPC), a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals. The consortium aimed to address the challenges of building large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems and advancing trustworthy and reliable AI for scientific discovery.
ORNL’s collaboration with TPC aligns seamlessly with its commitment to developing secure, reliable, and energy-efficient AI, complementing the consortium’s emphasis on responsible AI. With over 300 researchers utilising AI to address Department of Energy challenges and hosting the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, ORNL is well-equipped to significantly contribute to the consortium’s objectives.
Leveraging its AI research and extensive resources, the laboratory will be crucial in addressing challenges such as constructing large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering problems. Specific tasks include creating scalable model architectures, implementing effective training strategies, organising and curating data for model training, optimising AI libraries for exascale computing platforms, and evaluating progress in scientific task learning, reliability, and trust.
TPC strives to build an open community of researchers developing advanced large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering progress. The consortium plans to voluntarily initiate, manage, and coordinate projects to prevent redundancy and enhance impact. Additionally, TPC seeks to establish a global network of resources and expertise to support the next generation of AI, uniting researchers focused on large-scale AI applications in science and engineering.
Prasanna Balaprakash, ORNL R&D staff scientist and director of the lab’s AI Initiative, said, “ORNL envisions being a critical resource for the consortium and is committed to ensuring the future of AI across the scientific spectrum.”
Further, as an international organisation that supports education, science, and culture, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established ten principles of AI ethics regarding scientific research.
- Beneficence: AI systems should be designed to promote the well-being of individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Non-maleficence: AI systems should avoid causing harm to individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Autonomy: Individuals should have the right to control their data and to make their own decisions about how AI systems are used.
- Justice: AI systems should be designed to be fair, equitable, and inclusive.
- Transparency: AI systems’ design, operation, and outcomes should be transparent and explainable.
- Accountability: There should be clear lines of responsibility for developing, deploying, and using AI systems.
- Privacy: The privacy of individuals should be protected when data is collected, processed, and used by AI systems.
- Data security: Data used by AI systems should be secure and protected from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
- Human oversight: AI systems should be subject to human management and control.
- Social and environmental compatibility: AI systems should be designed to be compatible with social and ecological values.
Since 1979, ORNL’s AI research has gained a portfolio with the launch of the Oak Ridge Applied Artificial Intelligence Project to ensure the alignment of UNESCO principles. Today, the AI Initiative focuses on developing secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI across various applications, showcasing the laboratory’s commitment to advancing AI in fields ranging from biology to national security. The collaboration with TPC reinforces ORNL’s dedication to driving breakthroughs in large-scale scientific AI, aligning with the world agenda in implementing AI ethics.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, spoke at two influential tech events: the Indian Express Digifraud & Safety Summit 2023 and YourStory Techsparks’23. His engagements centred around India’s technological advancements, regulatory policies, and the nation’s promising future in the global tech landscape.
At these tech summits, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar outlined India’s ambitious technological trajectory, reinforcing the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, ensuring a safe digital environment, and harnessing the transformative power of technology for the nation’s progress.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar articulated India’s journey in artificial intelligence (AI) and emphasised the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and the startup ecosystem. He expressed the government’s profound interest in further boosting India’s burgeoning startup landscape.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted India’s transition from an unrestricted, eternally optimistic view of technology and the internet to a more nuanced approach. He highlighted the government’s aim to strike a balance between fostering innovation and growth while guaranteeing distinct rights for digital citizens.
The Minister emphasised the evolution from the phase of transforming India to the concept of ‘New India’ and now envisions witnessing the emergence of ‘Viksit Bharat’. He expanded on India’s transformation which resonated with the Prime Minister’s vision to raise India to a developed nation status, aiming to elevate the nation to the position of the world’s third-largest economy.
Highlighting the government’s initiatives, Minister Chandrasekhar stated, “Our focus is on startups, innovation, and funding, creating a computing infrastructure. In January, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi agreed to establish a significant amount of GPU capacity in India for startups to access and bring forth their innovation and foundational models.”
He advocated for decentralising the startup landscape, encouraging the emergence of successful ventures from various regions across India. “We want unicorns and successful startups to come from Meerut, Ghaziabad, Kohima, Srinagar, Kottayam, Belgaum, Dharwad, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, and beyond,” he asserted, confirming the nation’s commitment to fostering innovation in diverse cities.
Addressing concerns about internet regulation and safety, the Minister explained the government’s evolved approach, focusing on ensuring safety and trust for digital citizens while holding platforms accountable. He clarified that “safety and trust are not for the Government; rather, they are initiatives aimed at safeguarding the vast majority of Digital Nagriks”.
Reflecting on his participation in the UK AI Summit, Minister Chandrasekhar underscored India’s commitment to a safe and trusted internet, aligning with the government’s guiding principles since 2021.
“We want the internet to be safe and trusted; it is an article of faith. We also aim for platforms to be legally accountable,” he reiterated.
He highlighted the need to embrace AI’s potential while managing risks, warning against a narrative that diminishes its innovation. The Minister emphasised that avoiding the overshadowing of AI’s benefits by its perceived risks is crucial for the digital economy and the populace.
“We don’t seek to demonise AI; rather, it’s vital to maintain a balance so that the discourse on its risks doesn’t eclipse its potential advantages,” he explains, clarifying India’s approach to artificial intelligence.
OpenGov Asia provided coverage of India’s expanding global influence, highlighting the country’s leadership roles across diverse international platforms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) and a Social Impact Fund (SIF). The GDPIR will be used for sharing information and best practices and the SIF is designed to advance Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).
He unveiled the schemes during the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Chaired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) has played a key role in progressing the global DPI agenda.