Singapore makes key policy shifts in revised national AI strategy

Singapore makes key policy shifts in revised national AI strategy

One of the first countries to come out with an AI policy in 2019, Singapore has now revised its AI strategy in line with the rapid development of the technology.

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Singapore government on Tuesday announced its updated national AI strategy, dubbed the National AI Strategy (NAIS) 2.0, as AI technology development gains momentum across the globe.

The new policy introduces three major changes. The first key policy shift is that Singapore now believes that AI is a necessity and no longer “good to have.” In this context, it aims to triple the talent pool of AI experts to 15,000 by training and hiring people, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said while launching NAIS 2.0.

As the technology continues to progress, AI professionals and data scientists are in high demand in all geographies, so the country plans to train people and hire from overseas markets to gain an edge.  

The second policy change is that the country now harbors global ambitions and aims to make a significant contribution to AI breakthroughs at a global level.

The third significant change is to adopt a projects-to-systems approach. “We will take a systems approach, bringing together stakeholders within and outside Singapore to add to our resources, capabilities, and infrastructure, accelerate the exchange of ideas, and administer AI-enabled solutions at scale,” the new policy document read.

Singapore was one of the first countries to come up with a National AI Strategy in 2019 and the country committed an investment of about $373 million (S$500 million) through AI Singapore (AISG) for the Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 and 2025 plans. However, the recent advances in AI technology, with the advent of generative AI, demanded a relook at the existing policies, which led to the launch of NAIS 2.0.

NAIS 2.0 defines excellence and empowerment as the twin goals of the policy. The country hopes to excel in AI to “maximise value creation” by empowering people and businesses to use the technology with confidence.

It further defines ten enablers in three categories of activity drivers (industry, Government, and research), people and communities (talent, capabilities, and placemaking), and infrastructure and environment (compute, data, trusted environment, and leader in thought and action).

Growing global consensus 

The launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI last year put the technology in the spotlight and brought forth the transformative impact it will have on various industry verticals.

Several countries, including the US and the UK, are formulating policies to leverage AI for social and economic gains while at the same time trying to find the best way to address questions around data access, privacy, and accountability, among others.

The European Union (EU) is also in the process of working on the AI Act to regulate the technology so it can be leveraged for social and economic benefits while addressing the risks associated with it.

Possibly the most significant development in this regard is the signing of the Bletchley Declaration by 28 countries and the EU earlier this year. This is a significant step as it brings several countries together to work on shared objectives and to address the risks associated with the technology.

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