Singapore to Invest Additional $ 180 Million to Accelerate AI Research; launches two new artificial intelligence programs

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Nova! was presented by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the sixth Singapore FinTech Festival on November 8th. Photo via The Straits Times / Asia News Network

SINGAPORE – Two new public artificial intelligence (AI) programs have been launched as part of the Republic’s strategy to use technology for social and economic purposes.

These come as Singapore allocates an additional $ 180 million to accelerate AI research, on top of the $ 500 million it has pledged so far.

The first program is the National AI Program in Finance. It includes an industry-wide artificial intelligence platform called NovA! – which generates insights into financial risks.

Nova! is a collaboration between Singapore-based banks and local fintech firms and aims to help financial institutions better assess companies’ environmental impact and identify emerging environmental risks.

The initiative will also allow financial institutions to better evaluate investments related to sustainability and associated risks such as greenwashing, or when companies exaggerate or falsify their environmental credentials.

Experts said about $ 100 trillion ($ 135 trillion) in climate-aligned financing will be needed to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 ° C. compared to pre-industrial levels.

More than 450 companies in the global financial sector at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow last week pledged to align over $ 130 trillion in assets under their control with a net emissions target of zero by 2050.

Nova! was presented by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the sixth Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology on Monday (November 8). It launched Singapore’s national AI strategy at the 2019 version of the flagship fintech and innovation event.

Singapore has five national artificial intelligence programs, Heng noted, including Selena +, an artificial intelligence system under the health program that detects major eye conditions from retinal scans.

“Selena + was able to achieve diagnostic accuracy similar to that of experienced human breeders. We have since implemented this project nationwide, to screen elderly and diabetic patients for eye disease more efficiently. This allowed us to deliver early intervention faster and more accurately, ”Heng said.

The second AI program launched on Monday is the government’s national AI program, which aims to improve public sector service delivery.

“One area is the use of AI text analytics to make better sense of the large amount of feedback our frontline agencies receive each year. This will allow us to better understand the weaknesses and better serve citizens. “Heng said.

Artificial intelligence will also be used to improve job matching on the national job portal, MyCareersFuture, he added. “This is particularly important during the pandemic, where many have been displaced and are trying to move to other sectors. We use AI to develop more personalized jobs and skills advice. Based on our pilot project, this new tool has improved total job placements by 20%. “

The Government Technology Agency, or GovTech, is developing JumpStart, an AI-enabled platform with recommendation engines to integrate career coaches. Job seekers can access JumpStart recommendations from a range of government products, including the MyCareers Future portal. So far the platform has facilitated more than 2,000 placements.

Heng added that Singapore’s AI strategy also includes creating a vibrant ecosystem for sustained innovation and a strong commitment to research and development (R&D) on artificial intelligence.

He said the Republic will invest more funds in resource efficient AI: “Being a small country, our data sets are small too. So we need to better train our machines to learn from small but high quality data sets.

“Our investment in research and development on artificial intelligence is not large compared to global investments in this field. But by focusing on where we can make the most impact, we can make every effort count. “

It is also crucial that the various stakeholders work together, he said.

“This is a common thread running through our national AI strategy as we seek to apply AI extensively and invest systematically.”

Mr. Heng noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in science and technology.

Singapore can maximize the impact of innovation in a time of rapid change by giving impetus to technologies that can bring about radical change and apply them widely, he said.

It also needs to create the right market drivers for innovation to scale and double to ensure innovation improves life, he added.

He noted that Singapore is contributing to the ethical use of AI in various ways and one example is Veritas, a framework for financial institutions to ensure that their use of AI and data analytics is fair, ethical, responsible and transparent.

La Repubblica also wants to launch eGiro on Monday. Giro is a direct debit mechanism that allows an individual to set up a permanent statement for a billing organization to make deductions from their bank account.

There are around one million Giro applications per year and the current application process is manual. It takes on average three weeks for applications to be processed and up to six weeks if further clarification is needed.

“So the participating banks and billing organizations have come together to digitize the process, to significantly reduce processing times and improve the user experience,” said Heng, urging the organizations here to join eGiro.

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