The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has just announced today April 26 that it will accelerate grants of AI-related patent applications to just six months, which will be the fastest in the world with immediate effect.
Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence to complement Singapore’s move towards a digital economy
The Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) will strongly complement Singapore’s shift to a digital economy, and support innovative enterprises who need to bring their AI products faster to global markets. Now, innovators can expect their AI patents to be granted in as quickly as six months, compared to a typical period of at least two years or more.
Today’s world economy is driven by innovation and digitalisation. Industry 4.0 has arrived, and AI is at the forefront of this development. According to a 2017 report, AI could potentially double Singapore’s annual economic growth rates from 3.2% to 5.4% by 2035 according to a release from IPOS
The drive towards AI is gaining momentum within the Government with a five-year Digital Government Blueprint plan launched last year for ministries and agencies to adopt one AI project by 2023. Companies in Singapore have also taken a proactive stance towards AI. 50% of businesses in telecom, insurance, finance, IT and retail have adopted AI solutions, with the remaining 30% indicating that they will do so by mid of this year.
IPOS initiative reinforces Singapore’s commitment to helping AI innovations move quickly to the market
Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS said: “AI has become one of the biggest drivers of technological and societal change in the world, and it will increasingly underpin Singapore’s drive to build a digital economy. The Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence will give AI innovators protection for their inventions much faster than usual and underscores Singapore’s commitment to helping AI innovations move quickly to the market. This initiative will also be extended to AI innovators outside of Singapore, and will allow them to use Singapore as a base to access markets of their interest speedily. This will reinforce Singapore as an IP hub for cutting-edge technologies.”
According to IPOS statement, the number of companies globally implementing AI solutions grew 270% in the past four years and tripled in the past year, with two in five enterprises implementing AI in some form now. The enormous interest in AI is most evident from patenting activities worldwide. More than 180,000 inventions relating to AI were published worldwide between 2008 to 2017, with an annual growth rate of more than over 20% over the last five years.Brimming with innovative activities, the global AI industry is forecast to be worth US$190 billion by 2025, with a compounded annual growth rate of 37% from 2017 to 2025.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong officially unveiled the National AI Strategy 2.0 (NAIS 2.0) at the inaugural Singapore Conference on AI (SCAI). This comprehensive strategy is designed not only to address contemporary challenges but also to uplift the collective economic and social potential of Singapore over the next three to five years.
Singapore’s journey into AI began in 2019 with the inception of the first National AI Strategy. This initial strategy laid out plans to deepen the integration of AI into various sectors, from Education to Healthcare and Safety & Security. Notably, the nation invested in critical enablers to fortify its AI ecosystem. Since then, Singapore has witnessed remarkable breakthroughs, leading to new products, capabilities, and interactions.
The renewed NAIS 2.0 acknowledges the opportunities and risks that AI presents in a society where digital technologies are an integral part of everyday life. Mastery of AI, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wong, holds the key to empowering businesses and citizens, unlocking new job opportunities, and driving the next wave of economic growth.
However, the responsible and sustainable management of AI is imperative to mitigate potential negative effects or misuse, such as cyber threats and misinformation, ensuring that AI engagement is safe and trustworthy for everyone.
NAIS 2.0 is framed by the vision “AI for the Public Good, for Singapore and the World.” The strategy revolves around two key goals: Excellence and Empowerment. Under the banner of Excellence, Singapore aims to selectively develop AI peaks to advance the field and maximise value creation.
This involves directing AI towards addressing pressing global challenges, including population health and climate change. On the Empowerment front, the strategy aspires to equip individuals, businesses, and communities to use AI with confidence, discernment, and trust, making AI the great equaliser in preparing for an AI-enabled future.
The strategy outlines 15 key actions across various systems and enablers that Singapore will undertake over the next three to five years. These actions encompass building a trusted and responsible AI ecosystem, driving innovation and growth through AI, and ensuring that people and businesses can engage with AI effectively.
Simultaneously, the launch of the inaugural SCAI underscores Singapore’s commitment to navigating the challenges of AI development. Themed “For the Global Good,” the conference aims to convene over 40 distinguished experts from academia, industry, and government. The goal is to identify critical questions in the realm of AI that, once answered, will enable the responsible development and deployment of AI for the benefit of societies globally.
Singapore’s NAIS 2.0 and the SCAI mark a significant stride toward harnessing the potential of AI while acknowledging the responsibilities that come with it. With a vision focused on the public good and a commitment to excellence and empowerment, Singapore is poised to navigate the intricate landscape of AI, ensuring that this transformative technology contributes positively to society and the world at large.
A National AI Strategy is paramount for a country, offering a strategic vision that guides the integration and development of AI. This comprehensive approach is instrumental in fostering economic growth and competitiveness by attracting investments, promoting innovation, and creating job opportunities.
Positioned as a leader in AI research and development, a nation with a well-defined strategy elevates its technological standing globally. Beyond economic benefits, such strategies address specific societal challenges, such as healthcare and education, improving citizens’ overall quality of life.
Establishing a robust regulatory framework, fostering talent development, and promoting ethical AI principles are integral components of these strategies. They also facilitate international collaboration, ensuring the exchange of knowledge and joint efforts in addressing global challenges.
In a bid to demystify mental illness, Castle Peak Hospital’s Mind Space Museum introduced an innovative approach using cutting-edge technology to immerse visitors into the sensory experiences of individuals grappling with mental health challenges. This immersive journey leverages virtual reality (VR) to simulate hallucinations, offering a glimpse into the world of patients navigating these profound conditions.
In a landmark collaboration supported by a charity programme, Castle Peak Hospital’s Mind Space, is heralded as Hong Kong’s pioneering Mental Health Experience Museum. This novel venture, backed by advanced technology, redefines the comprehension of mental health through a fusion of immersive facilities and state-of-the-art installations.
Mind Space stands as an embodiment of the transformative potential of technology in enhancing empathy and understanding. Powered by the latest advancements in virtual reality (VR), this museum offers visitors a revolutionary opportunity to step into the intricate world of mental health.
Beyond historical perspectives, the Brain Tour zone elucidates the scientific facets underlying mental illness. A standout feature, the Symptom Experience Rooms, employs VR to replicate visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, allowing participants to tangibly sense the challenges encountered by individuals battling mental health issues.
The heart of Mind Space lies in its VR simulations, meticulously designed to simulate the symptoms and experiences of psychiatric conditions. Participants are transported into a realm where they can tangibly sense the visual, auditory, and tactile manifestations encountered by individuals battling mental health challenges.
From vivid hallucinations to sensory distortions, these simulations serve as an educational conduit, providing a deeper comprehension of the often misunderstood facets of mental illness. Visitors are not mere observers but active participants, gaining invaluable insights through experiential learning
By deploying cutting-edge tech and innovative approaches, Castle Peak Hospital aims to broaden its outreach by inviting more visitors. Mind Space beckons those curious about mental health to embark on an immersive journey, accessible through online bookings.
In his Policy Address, Mr Lee said the Government attaches great importance to mental health. Hong Kong prioritises the mental wellness of its citizens and acknowledges that mental health encompasses more than just medical treatment. Embracing an integrated, multi-disciplinary strategy, the government underscores the holistic nature of mental health care.
Aligned with the community’s focus on innovation and technology, there’s a growing emphasis on integrating advanced technology into mental health services. This push aims to streamline labour-intensive operations in hospitals, elderly centres/homes, and other care facilities. By leveraging innovative technology, it seeks to empower health and social care professionals as well as frontline workers, enhancing their efficiency in daily tasks.
Moreover, this initiative aims to attract fresh talent, especially young individuals, to join the workforce in mental health services. Integrating cutting-edge technology into these fields, not only modernises operations but also presents an appealing and dynamic environment, encouraging new entrants to consider long-term involvement in mental health care.
In July this year, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) secured funding from the Research Grants Council (RGC) Strategic Topics Grant (STG) 2023/24 to drive a transformative health technology initiative.
Hong Kong grapples with a significant prevalence of major psychiatric disorders (MPDs), with conditions like major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder affecting approximately 13.3% of the population. Alarmingly, fewer than 40% of patients attain full symptom relief following initial treatment.
Presently, diagnostic criteria heavily rely on cognitive and behavioural markers, presenting limitations in accurate assessment and treatment planning. PolyU’s groundbreaking project presents a pioneering approach that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) alongside genomic and biomedical technologies. The proposed AI-driven methodology promises a data-centric approach to diagnosis and personalised therapy, marking a significant leap forward in mental healthcare innovation.
The Philippines, situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, is uniquely susceptible to a range of natural disasters stemming from its geographical location, including typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, which render it particularly vulnerable. Nevertheless, in response to these formidable challenges, the nation has embarked on an impressive trajectory of resilience enhancement, strategically emphasising the convergence of technology and preparedness as key focal points in their efforts.
As the impact of climate and its cascading effects intensify, the Philippines’ exposure to natural hazards and the significance of resilience has surged. Recognising the limitations of traditional disaster responses, the country has shifted focus. Instead of relying solely on those methods, they’re embracing forward-thinking strategies that integrate proactive measures and technological advancements to effectively confront these challenges head-on.
The core of this transition lies in the effectiveness of the integration of technology with disaster preparedness. This fusion of innovation and readiness is indispensable in the face of ever more frequent and severe natural calamities. In an era where data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and early warning systems have reached new heights, the Philippines is leveraging these technologies to build a nation better equipped to withstand and rebound from disasters.
The Philippines’ journey towards resilience is characterised by progressive solutions built on technology. From early warning systems that provide timely alerts to communities, to advanced data analytics aiding in disaster risk reduction, the country is pioneering approaches that safeguard its people, infrastructure, and economy.
Moreover, this evolution is not contained within national borders. The Philippines acknowledges the interconnectedness of global resilience, actively participating in international collaborations and sharing its expertise to enhance global disaster preparedness.
Engr. Niñaliza H. Escorial, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) within the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), discusses their vision in response to the rapidly changing global landscape of emerging technologies with OpenGov Asia.
She highlights the agency’s commitment to fostering advancements in Quantum technology, agreeing that it is in a nascent development stage. In a bid to enhance capabilities, PCIEERD is actively seeking collaborative partnerships abroad, emphasising knowledge exchange and capacity-building initiatives. The first step in this endeavour involves establishing an innovation laboratory in collaboration with DOST-ASTI, dedicated to Quantum technology research and development.
Engr. Niñaliza underscores PCIEERD’s dedication to technological innovation, particularly in advanced manufacturing, which greatly supports industries engaged in prototype development. They know the significance of acquiring substantial equipment, considering it pivotal in fostering growth and bolstering competitiveness within the industrial sector.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of blockchain technology within the technological landscape, PCIEERD is actively embracing its integration into their initiatives. Their strategic adoption of blockchain aims to fortify and elevate capabilities, emphasising the assurance of heightened security, transparency, and efficiency across an array of applications and systems within their purview. This deliberate incorporation signifies a proactive step towards optimising technological frameworks and operations for enhanced performance and reliability.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD is delving into Artificial Intelligence (AI), moving beyond exploration to practical applications. The focus extends to improving administrative processes through diverse AI applications. The agency is actively seeking ways to enhance and streamline administrative functions, emphasising efficiency and effectiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza elaborates on PCIEERD’s expansive AI initiatives, spanning various sectors to highlight the transformative capacity of AI applications. The agency is actively leveraging AI to revolutionise weather forecasting, understanding the critical necessity for enhanced accuracy and timeliness in predictions. This strategic utilisation of AI underscores their commitment to addressing pressing needs through technological innovation.
“By integrating AI into weather prediction models, the agency aims to enhance preparedness and response to changing weather conditions, contributing to overall disaster resilience,” Engr Niñaliza explains.
The focus extends to the projection and management of river systems, where AI technology proves invaluable in analysing complex hydrological data. This initiative enables more accurate predictions of river behaviour, vital for mitigating the impact of floods and ensuring sustainable water resource management.
As they also see the pivotal role of AI in ensuring a stable food supply, PCIEERD is deploying innovative AI applications in agro-industry. This includes optimising resource allocation, enhancing agro-industry practices, and improving overall crop yield and quality. These initiatives align with the agency’s commitment to harnessing technology for the nation’s food security.
AI has emerged as a vital tool in traffic management systems, with PCIEERD harnessing AI algorithms for monitoring and controlling traffic. Their goal is to ease congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and play a role in creating sustainable, more livable urban environments.
Within the manufacturing sector, PCIEERD’s focus extends to the integration of sensors, a strategic move to expedite production processes. This innovative approach enhances efficiency and precision in manufacturing, ultimately increasing productivity and global competitiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza expands on PCIEERD’s deployment of AI in health monitoring projects, specifically tailored for students. This proactive strategy facilitates early intervention, fostering a healthier learning atmosphere. It underscores the convergence of technology and public health, prioritising well-being within educational settings.
She highlights their steadfast commitment to making science accessible and relatable, especially to diverse audiences, with a primary focus on students. PCIEERD’s engagement in science communication is evident in strategically designed initiatives that foster a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
Curated exhibits and workshops serve as dynamic platforms where students actively engage with scientific principles in a hands-on and immersive manner. These initiatives aim not only to impart knowledge but also to cultivate a genuine interest in science, aligning with educational curricula while promoting curiosity and exploration.
Taking cognisance of the evolving landscape of communication, PCIEERD actively harnesses the power of social media as a dynamic channel for disseminating scientific information. Through various platforms, the agency strives to reach a broader audience, transcending geographical constraints and connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The approach to science communication on social media is characterised by clarity, simplicity, and engagement, ensuring that complex scientific concepts are presented in an accessible and understandable manner.
PCIEERD’s main objective is to democratise science communication, making it accessible to individuals at all levels of familiarity with scientific concepts. The agency aims to simplify science, translating intricate ideas into language and visuals that resonate with the general public. This approach fosters a culture of inclusivity, breaking down barriers between scientific knowledge and everyday understanding.
By prioritising science communication from the grassroots level, PCIEERD contributes to a broader societal understanding of the significance of science and technology. Through these initiatives, PCIEERD is actively bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering a more informed, engaged and scientifically literate society.
The efforts go beyond conveying information; they aim to inspire a sense of wonder and appreciation for the role of science in shaping the world.
PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts extend to studying and benchmarking different food systems around the globe, particularly in terms of food technology. By exploring and learning from a wide range of methods, the agency seeks to integrate innovative food technologies that enhance productivity, reduce waste, and promote sustainability in agro-industry.
The primary focus lies in improving methods in agro-industry, streamlining supply chains, and strengthening a resilient food system capable of tackling the challenges presented by a swiftly evolving world. Insights gained will inform effective strategies, technological applications, and policy frameworks, tailor-fitted to strengthen the Philippines’ food security measures.
Acknowledging the environmental impact of waste, particularly its movement, PCIEERD is actively engaging in international collaboration on waste management. Through shared knowledge and best practices, the agency aims to minimise the environmental footprint of waste, emphasising sustainable waste disposal methods and embracing circular economy principles.
“One strategic avenue of international collaboration involves studying guidelines, especially during pandemics,” she elaborates.
They are keenly aware of the critical importance of understanding and adapting to global best practices in managing food systems amid pandemics, PCIEERD aims to examine diverse approaches worldwide. The emphasis is on collaboration to realise the goal of innovating food security initiatives through the use of advanced technologies.
Engr Niñaliza highlights the transformative potential of food technology as an essential in the fight against food hunger in the Philippines. The agency aims not only to develop solutions but also to craft comprehensive strategies that encompass both the preservation and consumption aspects of food.
By leveraging cutting-edge advancements in food technology, PCIEERD aspires to revolutionise the production, storage, and consumption of food, with the ultimate goal of significantly mitigating hunger on a large scale.
PCIEERD’s focus on preservation extends beyond traditional methods. The agency is actively seeking to harness innovative food preservation technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable goods, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the overall efficiency of the food supply chain.
“Through these efforts, PCIEERD aims to ensure that a greater quantity of nutritious food reaches those in need, contributing to the alleviation of hunger in local communities,” Engr Niñaliza asserts.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD recognises the crucial role of addressing consumption patterns as part of its strategy. The agency accentuates the importance of educating and engaging the public, particularly the youth, in a comprehensive awareness campaign.
This campaign aims to foster a deeper understanding of the role of food technology in daily life, making the public aware of the benefits of innovative food products and promoting sustainable and healthy dietary choices.
Considering the pivotal role of AI in shaping the future, PCIEERD is committed to fostering AI literacy, especially among the youth. Initiatives are underway to raise awareness among young stakeholders, ensuring they grasp the potential and responsible use of AI technologies.
PCIEERD aims to empower the younger generation with AI knowledge, cultivating a pool of innovators who can contribute to the development and implementation of AI solutions in diverse sectors, including addressing food security challenges.
In terms of AI, PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts encompass discourses on AI guidelines. The agency aspires to ensure that its AI initiatives align with global ethical standards and technological norms. Addressing ethical concerns related to AI is paramount, and through international collaboration, PCIEERD aims to contribute to the development of comprehensive and universally applicable guidelines.
Engr Niñaliza envisions a unified roadmap for all DOST agencies, the goal is to harmonise efforts and resources, creating a symphony of innovation across science and technology.
This blueprint aims to streamline initiatives, eliminate redundancies, and optimise resource allocation. The strategy leverages the collective expertise of each DOST agency, fostering collaboration for a greater impact on a national scale.
“By aligning priorities, the roadmap addresses critical challenges, from industry development to energy security and emerging technologies,” she says emphatically. “The holistic approach ensures that advancements in one sector enhance progress in others, creating a ripple effect of positive change.”
This vision fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down silos to adapt swiftly to emerging trends. The goal is to position the Philippines as a dynamic force in the global scientific community.
Engr Niñaliza’s dream for DOST-PCIEERD is one of convergence, collaboration, and collective impact. Guided by a shared roadmap, the vision propels the nation forward into a future where the transformative power of science and technology uplifts every aspect of Filipino society. Through this unified approach, DOST-PCIEERD actively crafts a legacy of innovation for generations to come.
Being the first female deputy at PCIEERD, Engr Niñaliza sees her role as a testament to the agency’s strides in inclusivity and merit appreciation. With 35 years of dedicated service, her journey reflects a commitment to progress and witnessed significant improvements in the research and development system.
Rising through the ranks, she brings valuable insights, navigating the dynamic field with a comprehensive understanding of internal workings. Notable is the evolution in research and development, marked by a commitment to innovation. PCIEERD’s culture values forward-thinking approaches, staying at the forefront of technological advancements and expanding horizons in industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
PCIEERD embraces upskilling, ensuring the team remains adaptable and proficient in the latest tools and methodologies. Innovative processes, from project conceptualisation to execution, streamline approaches and position the agency as a dynamic entity within the DOST framework.
The collective journey strengthens PCIEERD, equipping it to fulfil its mandate with resilience. Engr Niñaliza takes pride in contributing to this positive trajectory and looks forward to advancements through continued innovation, upskilling, and excellence in research and development.
PCIEERD’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship is demonstrated by the ambitious goal of funding 20 startups annually with a dedicated budget of PHP5 million (SG$135,000). This initiative injects vitality into the local startup ecosystem, fostering technological advancements, economic growth, and job creation.
Inclusivity is a core focus, with dedicated programmes for women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Through Women Helping Women initiatives, PCIEERD addresses challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, providing support, mentorship, and financial assistance. Gender diversity is celebrated in STEM fields, breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of women.
PCIEERD’s commitment goes well beyond financial support, creating networking opportunities, mentorship programmes, and platforms for knowledge exchange. By addressing gender disparities and championing diversity, PCIEERD enriches the overall fabric of innovation and progress in society.
The advice given by Engr Niñaliza to anyone aiming for success, regardless of gender or background, is based on the conviction that dedication to ongoing learning and personal development is necessary to realise one’s greatest potential.
“It’s imperative to align your efforts with your strengths and passions, doing what you excel at and what truly ignites your enthusiasm,” she asserts. “Success often follows when we are dedicated to refining our skills and staying open to new knowledge.”
Engr Niñaliza has seen firsthand the transformative power of setting clear goals and persistently working towards S&T, as she progressed from a technical role to becoming the first female deputy of DOST PCIEERD. It emphasises the significance of having a clear direction and a road map for professional and personal goals.
Learning, according to her should be an ongoing process that is not limited by age or stage of career. The pursuit of knowledge and skill enhancement should be constant, whether in technical or administrative roles. Individuals who adopt this mindset are better able to adapt to changing challenges and remain relevant in their respective fields.
Engr Nializa understands the importance of recognising burnout and the need for periodic recovery. In the pursuit of success, it is critical to pay attention to one’s well-being and know when a break is required. Recovering from burnout enables rejuvenation and renewed focus, laying the groundwork for long-term success.
Her experience exemplifies the philosophy of pursuing excellence through passion alignment, continuous learning, and resilience.
“By maintaining a clear goal, staying dedicated to improvement, and understanding the importance of self-care, individuals can navigate their unique paths to success, contributing meaningfully to their fields and making a lasting impact on their personal and professional journeys,” Engr Niñaliza ends passionately.
In a pioneering move to strengthen the capabilities of future robotic professionals, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has teamed up with seven esteemed local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to align and elevate learning outcomes in robotics courses.
This strategic collaboration aims to equip students with consistent knowledge and skills essential for their integration into the workforce and engagement in robotics work. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific Annual Summit, underscores a commitment to harmonising educational approaches in response to the dynamic landscape of Singapore’s growing robotics ecosystem.
This collaborative effort, led by Professor Quek Tong Boon, Chief Executive of the National Robotics Programme, addresses the imperative of cultivating a workforce adept in the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source framework pivotal in the development and control of robots.
According to Professor Quek, robotics courses are instrumental in shaping the skills, mindset, and capabilities of individuals, preparing them for impactful and rewarding careers in technology and innovation.
As ROS gains prominence in industrial robotics applications, facilitating seamless communication among robots with diverse manufacturers and user interfaces, the collaboration seeks to bolster the future workforce’s relevance and competitiveness. Likewise, it envisions empowering professionals to undertake higher-value tasks, aligning with the evolving demands of the robotics industry.
At the helm of this educational convergence is the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific (ROS-I AP), managed by A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). The consortium spearheads collaborative endeavours with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
The ROS-I AP has been instrumental in adapting ROS capabilities to suit the hardware requirements of industrial applications. Traditionally, robots were programmed using proprietary solutions, constraining innovation.
Leveraging ROS’s open-source architecture, ROS-I AP catalyses the industry’s adoption of ROS by fostering collaboration, pooling resources, and sharing knowledge to drive ROS applications in manufacturing automation. The consortium also plays a pivotal role in training and outreach to cultivate a talent pool aligned with the increasing deployment of robots.
The MoU signifies a pivotal phase in a broader Train-and-Place programme championed by ROS-I AP, responding to the escalating demand for robotics-related skills in the Singaporean industry landscape. This initiative seeks to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to ROS-related projects within companies.
The collaborative efforts between ROS-I AP and IHLs aim to establish a standardised curriculum for ROS-based courses, ensuring a consistent quality of education delivery. The collaboration will also include monitoring the efficacy of course content through piloting in IHLs and assessing students, with a commitment to updating content to align with industry developments.
According to A*STAR, this holistic approach ensures that graduates across IHLs possess a baseline competency, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of these future robotic professionals.
Likewise, this collaboration signifies a concerted effort to shape the future of robotics education, ensuring that students receive a cohesive and advanced learning experience. As the robotics landscape continues to evolve, this strategic partnership not only meets current industry needs but also prepares the workforce for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the dynamic field of robotics.
In a thorough report by the National AI Centre, Australia is poised to solidify its stance as a global frontrunner in Artificial Intelligence (AI) by strategically transforming cutting-edge AI research into lucrative commercial prospects.
Termed “Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem – Catalysing an AI Industry”, the report delves into a comprehensive analysis, empowering businesses, investors, government bodies, and research institutions with the latest insights to propel Australia’s AI landscape forward.
Published during the inaugural AI Month in Australia, the report, commissioned by the National AI Centre, housed within CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), highlights a significant revelation: while Australia contributes 1.6% of global AI research, only 0.2% of global AI patents originate from within the country. Securing patents for indigenous research becomes pivotal in harnessing Australia’s innovations, amplifying its global competitiveness on the AI frontier.
Stela Solar, Director of the National AI Centre, emphasises the imperative to capitalise on the immense $13 trillion AI opportunity. Solar advocates for patenting, commercialisation, and application of Australia’s groundbreaking research towards solving domestic and global challenges.
She believes, “This strategic move could elevate Australia’s international standing, entice investments, foster talent development, and cultivate nascent sectors and employment avenues.”
Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Chief Research Consultant at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, identifies a critical strategy: pinpointing and fortifying Australia’s AI specialities to bolster its global market edge.
Hajkowicz asserts, “Australia’s AI ecosystem is rapidly evolving, presenting opportunities for specialisation and diversification. Our focus should revolve around applying innovative AI in domains where Australia already leads on a global scale.”
The report delineates 31 potential application domains, pinpointing areas for Australia to become a prominent AI innovator and exporter. Notably, these areas span diverse sectors such as livestock production, medical technology, horticulture, optometry, and dermatology.
Dr Alexandra Bratanova, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61 and report co-author, emphasises the significance of nurturing AI innovation hubs tailored to specific industries. “Domestically nurtured AI solutions often align more closely with our values of safe and responsible AI products. These solutions can be customised to domestic needs and uphold higher quality standards compared to those offered by large international AI providers,” says Dr. Bratanova.
The report uncovers compelling findings:
- Australia hosts 544 AI companies, placing it on par with global AI leaders like Canada.
- Over the past decade, 396 AI companies have emerged, with 204 established in the last five years, representing a 7.7% year-on-year growth.
- Predominantly, these companies focus on data services, developing and optimising AI capabilities, particularly in data analysis and management.
- The AI companies exhibit geographic clustering, with eight prominent hotspots across cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, housing 54% (296) of these enterprises.
Moreover, the report includes insights gleaned from consultations with 28 stakeholders within Australia’s AI ecosystem. Representatives from companies pioneering AI technologies, government agencies, and research institutions have contributed valuable perspectives.
Australia stands at a pivotal juncture, armed with cutting-edge AI research and burgeoning industry clusters. By strategically harnessing these strengths, the nation can propel itself to the forefront of global AI innovation, fostering economic growth, job creation, and technological advancement.
The report arrives amid escalating apprehensions regarding AI’s potential misuse. The widespread impact of AI raises pressing copyright concerns that encompass various facets, including the data utilised for training AI models, the transparency surrounding AI’s inputs and outputs, the emergence of imitative works generated by AI, and the intricate discussions regarding copyright safeguarding for creations produced by AI.
To address challenges posed by AI on copyright issues, the Australian government launched a dedicated copyright and AI reference group. This initiative aims to proactively anticipate and navigate the intricate web of copyright concerns brought about by the proliferation of AI technology.
The recent MSC Malaysia Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) 2023 witnessed the success of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) with their pioneering creations, MAVIHUB and SMECollab. These innovations secured national acclaim, positioning themselves to represent Malaysian ingenuity at the imminent APICTA International competition in Hong Kong, China.
MAVIHUB and SMECollab, spearheaded by teams from APU, emerged victorious in the Industrial (Manufacturing) and Student (Tertiary) categories, respectively. These wins underscored APU’s standing as a leading hub for technological excellence and set the stage for its global prominence at the forthcoming APICTA competition.
MAVIHUB, led by Prof. Ir. Eur. Ing. Ts. Dr. Vinesh Thiruchelvam, Ir. Narendran Ramasenderan, and Mr. Krishna Ravinchandra, garnered attention with their innovative machine vision and deep learning solution, showcasing its potential to revolutionise manufacturing processes. Their debut victory at APICTA marked a milestone, emphasising their dedication to innovation and practical application.
“We showcased innovation in machine vision and robotic autonomy, demonstrating scalability and the potential impact of our project,” explained Ir. Narendran, representing MAVIHUB.
MAVIHUB is strategically charting its course for the international competition in Hong Kong. The team is meticulously evaluating whether to enhance their current project or embark on a new endeavour, aiming to align with the competition’s criteria and engage a broader audience.
Similarly, SMECollab, comprising Computer Science students specialising in Data Analytics, showcased their solution which addresses contemporary challenges faced by SMEs. Guided by mentors Prof. Vinesh and Georg Chmiel, their AI-based collaborative platform evolved through continuous refinement, culminating in their national accolade.
Participating in APICTA unveiled a realm of learning opportunities, exposing the teams to diverse perspectives and fostering their growth within the industrial and technological landscape. It catalysed their growth, enabling networking opportunities, skill development, and exposure to potential partnerships.
In another triumph for the university, Shah Faisal, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at APU, attained the Second Prize in the individual category of the esteemed IEM Student Research e-Poster Competition 2023, organised by the Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture Technical Division of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM).
The competition, themed around Sustainability and Integrated Engineering, drew participants from diverse educational backgrounds, engaging graduates, undergraduates, and community college students alike.
Challenging and multi-staged, the competition involved rigorous rounds where participants crafted comprehensive research posters elucidating problem statements, objectives, methodologies, results, and the potential impact on enhancing sustainability.
His winning research project, “Smart Health Monitoring System for Rural COVID-19 Patients”, project comprised three vital components:
Health Monitoring Device: Capturing a wide array of vital information such as body temperature, Blood Oxygen Levels (SPO2 levels), heart rate (BPM), room temperature, humidity levels, and Mental Health Index assessment.
Solar Charging Station: Employing dual-axis solar tracking technology for sustainability and independence from the conventional power grid.
Application: A platform displaying diverse vital readings to healthcare professionals and patients, featuring pre-diagnostic analysis and facilitating doctor-patient communication.
Reflecting on the intense competition that brought together Malaysia’s brightest minds, Shah Faisal expressed his excitement, stating, “I was thrilled to make it to the final round. Presenting and defending my research in front of the judges, followed by an extensive Q&A, was truly exhilarating.”
The triumphs of MAVIHUB, SMECollab and Shah Faisal are not only proof of APU’s technological prowess but also highlight Malaysia’s commitment to innovation on the global stage. Their journeys stand as a testament to the transformative power of innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of technology.
Vietnamese and Japanese experts discussed potential solutions to enhance collaboration in their digital economies during a forum held in Hanoi. It covered shifts in Vietnam-Japan relations and explored international trends and developments influencing economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The forum, titled “Digital Economy Partnership under Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF): How should Japan and Vietnam Cooperate?” was organised by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) in collaboration with the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. Participants explored Indo-Pacific perspectives and assessments on digital economic cooperation in the IPEF, and the next steps for the countries to strengthen digital economic cooperation in the future.
During the event, Nguyen Anh Duong, Director of the CIEM’s Department for General Economic Issues and Integration Studies, outlined Vietnam’s endeavours in advancing the digital economy and fostering collaboration in this area. The country is actively transitioning its growth model to rely more on innovation and boost labour productivity.
Reflecting the country’s strong commitment to advancing digital economic development, the Prime Minister has issued a series of pivotal decisions, including one in 2020 approving the National Digital Transformation Programme. In 2021, he endorsed the E-Government Development Strategy, focusing on digital government, and in 2022, he sanctioned the National Development Strategy for the digital economy and digital society until 2025, with an orientation to 2030.
Last month, Vietnam and Japan released a joint statement, officially elevating their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world. In the statement, the Vietnamese President and Japanese Prime Minister affirmed their commitment to advancing collaboration in the digital economy and innovation, aiming to generate momentum for swift and sustainable economic development.
The Vietnamese community in Japan has experienced rapid growth, establishing itself as the second-largest overseas foreign community with a total of 520,000 expatriates. The Vietnamese human resources who account for about a quarter of all foreign workers in Japan, such as technical intern trainees, specified skilled workers, and engineers/specialists in humanities/international services, make significant contributions to the development of the economy of both countries.
Both leaders agreed to collaborative efforts to develop digital government, digital economy, digital society, and new potential core industries like semiconductors. Additionally, they recognised the significance of promoting the free flow of data across borders, fostering digital connectivity, and strengthening trust among consumers and businesses in the digital economy.
The two governments will also cooperate in smart power grids, smart cities, power market development, and localisation of the energy industry. Furthermore, they will work together on sustainable development goals, climate change mitigation, natural disaster risk reduction, green growth, resource management, environmental protection, and circular economy initiatives.
This collaboration extends to the ASEAN-welcomed Strategic Programme for ASEAN Climate and Environment (SPACE). Both leaders appreciated the consistent implementation of international agreements and commitments between their countries related to sustainable development, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Additionally, Japan has pledged ongoing support for Vietnam in research, technology, and technique transfer, the training of health-related human resources, technical assistance in health policy development, and the promotion of bilateral cooperation programmes between medical facilities and research institutes. It will also support the development of a platform for cooperation through initiatives like Medical Excellence Vietnam (MEV) and the training of healthcare workers from both countries.