AI Policy – Singapore

The following description of AI policy in Singapore provides a snapshot summary of some previous and ongoing initiatives throughout the country. It is regularly updated as feasible, but it is not intended to be comprehensive. 

As of February 2020, there is also extensive information, data, and graphics about AI policy in Singapore available at the OECD AI Policy Observatory.

In November 2019, Singapore launched a National AI Strategy. The strategy identifies five national AI projects including transport and logistics, smart cities and estates, healthcare, education, and safety and security. These projects are intended to address key challenges that will help ensure Singaporeans experience successful and sustainable AI innovation and adoption. The national strategy calls for support from the private and public sectors, as well as international partners. One part of the strategy is a Model AI Governance Framework.

Previously, Singapore had identified AI as key to its economic growth and began investing in a pervasive AI ecosystem. In May 2017, the government established a national program called AI Singapore to harness AI throughout the country. The program was set up by the government to invest up to S$150m in AI over the next 5 years. The objectives of AI singapore are to use AI to address major challenges that affect society and industry, to invest in deep capabilities to catch the next wave of scientific innovation, and to broaden adoption and use of AI and machine learning within industry. It focuses on three key industry sectors: finance, city management solutions, and healthcare. Two more recent programs launched by AI Singapore include AI for Everyone (AI4E) and AI for Industry (AI4I). These programs help showcase the utility of AI advances to a wider range of Singaporeans and to industry professionals.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also held a consultation on the potential ethical pitfalls of the use of AI in the financial industry. This project aimed to result in regulatory guidelines for the ethical, accountable, and transparent use of AI and data analytics.

In June 2018, it was announced that Singapore would establish an AI ethics advisory council headed by former Attorney-General V.K. Rajah and led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to advise its government on the development and use of AI and also work with the ethics boards of businesses. Minister Iswaran described it like this: “The advisory council will assist the Government to develop ethics standards and reference governance frameworks, issue advisory guidelines, practical guidance and codes of practice for voluntary adoption by businesses.” A five-year research program at Singapore Management University on the governance of AI will assist the council. This program will be supported by the IMDA and will “advance discourse in ethical, legal, policy and governance issues arising from AI and data use,” according to Minister Iswaran. 11 members were selected for the Council, including leaders from Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba.

Also in June 2018, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S. Iswaran, named AI as one of the key ways in which Singapore plans to grow its digital economy. AI was further referenced as part of Singapore’s 2017 innovation strategy, outlined by Singapore’s Committee of the Future Economy.

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