Singapore gets serious about AI with S$150m startup backing

Posted: 3 May 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields


The National Research Foundation (NRF) has committed to invest up to S$150 (Singapore) million into a new national programme aimed at boosting the countries capabilities around artificial intelligence (AI) by helping startups.

According to Channel NewsAsia, the investment, which was announced by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday (May 3), will be staggered over the next five years.

Branded as AI.SG, the project, so says NewsAsia, will see Singapore-based research institutes partner AI start-ups and companies developing AI products to grow knowledge in the space, create tools and develop talent to power the country’s AI efforts.

Speaking at the opening of the InnovFest Unbound event on Wednesday (May 3), Dr Ibrahim said: “AI.SG will do three key things – first, address major challenges that affect both society and industry. Secondly, invest in deep capabilities to catch the next wave of scientific innovation. And finally, to grow AI innovation and adoption in companies – an initiative most pertinent to our business community,” s

“We have identified three focus areas of application for AI.SG: Finance, city management solutions and healthcare.”

The initiative will be funded in partnership with a number of Government divisions, including the NRF, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SGInnovate as well as the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS).

In add Dr Yaacob on Wednesday,a second initiative with the Singapore Data Science Consortium, as stated in the article, to collaborate research links between institutes of higher learning, research institutes and the industry in data science research and development to address real-world challenges.

Working with The National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Management University (SMU), it will also train Singapore’s local talent pipeline with deep data science capabilities.

“AI and data science are key frontier technologies that the Singapore Government will harness and build capabilities in. In the longer run, such investments will enhance the economic opportunities for all Singaporeans,” concluded Dr Yaacob.

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