Mr S Iswaran, Minister of Communications and Information spoke at the launch of the Developer Space @ Google Singapore on Friday 22 February. The three main topics he focused on were developing business, developing talent and global partnerships, with the common thread of digitalisation and Singapore digital economy running through all three focus areas.
Mr Iswaran spoke of how industry investments are important to complement government efforts in supporting the digital economy
“Complementing the efforts of the government, contributions and investments from the industry such as Google have been important in bolstering our economic growth and efforts to develop new industry segments. These investments and initiatives bring with them the talent, resources and capabilities that are essential for our industries.”
He continued by congratulating Google for launching its first-ever Developer Space @ Google in Singapore and said he thought it will be an important catalyst for the development and the nurturing of the developer community in Singapore.
Singapore government continues to invest in the digital economy
He stated that the Government remains committed to helping businesses and people translate these opportunities into opportunities by providing the support and infrastructure that is needed to ensure that Singaporeans are equipped with the digital skills to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy.
He mentioned the introduction of the Digital Economy Framework for Action last year to prepare local enterprises and the workforce to capitalise on opportunities arising from the digital economy.
He also highlighted as part of the governments digital transformation efforts, the roll out of 23 Industry Transformation Maps to help companies innovate and also boost their productivity. At the enterprise level, they launched the Start Digital initiative last month, the aim being that businesses are digitally enabled from the get-go. This complements the other industry development programme which is “SMEs Go Digital” and to promote the digital message across the whole spectrum of enterprises.
Singapore Government pushing to enhance AI capabilities
Mr Iswaran spoke of how frontier technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), offer unparalleled transformative potential.
“To drive AI adoption and grow our capabilities in this area, we have invested S$150 million in AI Singapore as a national programme that enhances Singapore’s AI capabilities by bringing together Singapore-based research institutions, and AI start-ups and companies.”
He said that the key point and value proposition of this initiative is in the fact that it is working on defined problem statements – practical applications of AI. And that this “helps to enliven the technology, make it relevant, and bring it closer to industry and enterprises.”
Investing in tech talent is key to the successful digitalisation of businesses and the economy
“The backbone of our digitalisation efforts is tech talent who are able to sense make and apply these new digital tools. Talent and the development of tech skills are critical areas in supporting companies moving towards the digital economy. “
In addition to strengthening horizontal capabilities and tech skills such as Data analytics, machine-learning or programming to support the economy’s broad spectrum of needs, the government also want ato develop deep skills and competencies within the industry. Having deep capabilities in technologies such as AI and machine-learning, and being able to effectively adopt and deploy them, what really set industries and businesses apart andgive Singaporeans and Singapore a competitive advantage.
Global partnerships are critical to helping our enterprises and pool of local talents become world class
The Minister went on to say that the partnerships Singapore has with leading international companies is going to be an important part of positioning them well for the future. These partnerships will provide a foothold for local small and medium enterprises to expand overseas and spark new opportunities for Singaporeans.
He added that the Google Developer Space will also make available opportunities for collaboration and sharing of ideas with regional and international tech professionals. .
Mr Iswaran concluded by saying that the government is keen to work with the private sector in order to more opportunities to Singapore and its people.
He said “What you will find in Singapore is really a government that is willing to work very closely with you [Google] in the industry to build the ecosystem, challenge the boundaries of innovation, and pursue more opportunities for our people.”