AI Singapore…One year on…

AI Singapore commemorated our first anniversary today with the launch of 2 new initiatives: AI4I and AI4E. Both programmes which are aimed at enabling 12,000 more people to acquire AI knowhow were officially unveiled by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information. The momentous occasion was attended by reps from the British and Canadian High Commission, French embassy, customers, industry partners as well agency partners.

Extending the reach and developing a strong pipeline of AI talent for Singapore
AI4I and AI4E will focus on educating Singaporeans about AI – showing them how technology can help in their daily lives, and to prepare industry professionals to be ready and competitive, and work productively with AI. The new programmes are part of IMDA’s TeSA initiative, which aims to develop a pipeline of skilled tech professionals to drive Singapore’s local tech ecosystem, especially in the AI space.

In line with the push to develop a digitally ready nation, AI has been identified as one of the four emerging technologies to drive the digital economy, and transform the way people live and work in Singapore.

“AI has the potential to catalyse change. In an increasingly digital world, it is imperative that everyone is AI-ready so that they can benefit from the immense potential of AI,” said Professor Ho Teck Hua, Executive Chairman of AI Singapore.

“AI has the potential to transform our businesses and workplaces. IMDA is committed to ensure that our businesses and workers can effectively use AI to be more competitive. IMDA will partner industry players such as AI Singapore, Microsoft, Intel and DataCamp to bring AI to the community and the workforce. Singaporeans will have the opportunity to learn about the benefits AI can bring to our daily lives. Our workers can also learn to harness AI in their workplace to enhance productivity and realise new possibilities,” said Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA.

Bringing AI to the Masses
The first initiative AI for Everyone (AI4E) aims to reach out to 10,000 people in Singapore ranging from secondary school students to working adults. The programme will introduce them to AI technology and how it can be used to improve the way one lives, works and plays. Through this programme, participants will learn to identify opportunities enabled through AI technologies, thus allowing them to be more savvy consumers of AI products and services. The initiative is co-supported by IMDA and technology giant, Microsoft. Global chip maker, Intel, and Microsoft are both content providers in this new programme.

The programme will be conducted by AISG for free. AISG, through its community and partners including IMDA, People’s Association and NTUC U-Associates, will reach out to engage 10,000 people for the programme. AISG will also work with schools, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) to conduct similar workshops at their premises.

“Artificial intelligence holds the key to a new era of innovation. To unlock the economic and societal benefits of AI, we believe that the AI building blocks that Microsoft is developing today such as computer vision, speech and knowledge recognition should be made accessible to everyone, every day and everywhere,” said Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore. “Our collaboration through AI4E will allow us to further our aspiration to enable future-ready talents in Singapore, so that everyone can benefit from the promise of AI. Beyond sharing our technology, we also hope to collectively address AI issues and their implications on the society.”

Empowering Skilled Professionals to Embrace AI
AI for Industry (AI4I)
is the second initiative to be rolled out by AISG. Targeted at technically inclined industry professionals, the initiative aims to reach out to 2,000 people with basic AI competency to enhance their competitiveness in a digital economy. Through this programme, participants will learn to apply AI technologies to increase their productivity and their firms’ competitiveness. This initiative is supported by IMDA, Microsoft and Intel, together with DataCamp, a leading online learning platform for Data Science and AI.

“Learning Data Science by doing is key to helping upskill engineers, developers and other IT professionals in Singapore,” said Jonathan Cornelissen, CEO and founder of DataCamp. “That’s why we’re so excited to be expanding our existing collaboration with AI Singapore as their online learning platform for Data Science. We look forward to working closely with the AI Singapore team and the AI ecosystem in Singapore.”

“With everything around us getting smarter and connected, AI is finding its way in our daily tasks without us even realizing it. To accelerate its application in solving the world’s biggest challenges, we need people with the right technical skills,” said Santhosh Viswanathan, Managing Director, Intel, Asia Pacific and Japan. “Intel is excited to be a part of this AI-focused initiative and lend our expertise to participants in taking advantage of this next leap in technology,” he added.

AI4I is a three month online-offline hybrid curriculum developed by AISG, and its sponsors and content partners, for working professionals and students. The programme aims for participants to understand and use AI appropriately, and be able to develop basic AI and data applications using Python. Upon completion, participants will each receive a Foundations in AI certification. Programme fees for AI4I will be subsidised by IMDA’s TeSA CITREP programme.

“Whether it is for future job opportunities, career advancement or just knowing the basics, we are hopeful that these two programmes by AI Singapore will benefit many people in Singapore, providing them with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the digital economy,” said Prof Ho.

MoU signed with Microsoft
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between AISG and Microsoft where the technology giant will contribute resources to support AI4E workshops conducted by AISG and explore areas of joint research and development.

Key Milestones
In his opening address, Prof Ho shared with everyone AISG’s accomplishments and progress over the past year. AISG, a 15 month old initiative, has received phenomenal support and interest from everyone, both locally and internationally. He added that the national programme has gained good momentum and traction in 3 focus areas – AI Research, Technology and Industry Innovation.

In AI Research, AISG pushed the boundary for fundamental research – more than 70 proposals have been received and 9 have been awarded. The proposals are novel, exciting and visionary in nature.

In June this year, the first AI Grand Challenge in Health was launched with the aim to halve the prevalence of complications of 3H: high blood pressure, high sugar and high cholesterol; through AI enhanced primary care. These are issues that are very key and real to Singapore.

On the industry front, AISG has ramped up its 100 Experiments Programme. The programme has seen increasing demand and interest from the industry as well as agencies. Close to 120 companies have been engaged, with more than 10 projects started and a growing pipeline.

The event also featured several projects from the 100 Experiments Programme as well as Research outcomes of 2 renowned Singapore AI Scientists who have reached global stature, putting Singapore on the world map.

In his closing remarks, Prof Ho commented that the work is not done yet and it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey.  Faced with the fast-paced digital innovation and rapid advancement of AI technology around the world, there is a need to continue to invest in pioneering the creation of breakthrough AI technologies, accelerating AI innovation for industry, and scaling up AI adoption for the whole nation.