Singapore to invest $180m for AI research

Heng kicked off the SFF 2021 and announced two new national AI programmes.

Singapore is ramping up its study and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), setting aside $180m (US$133m) for research in AI and rolling out new national AI programmes.

Addressing attendees of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) 2021, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined Lion City’s plans to research the use of AI, primarily to transform data into insights as well as to find new applications for it.

The new $180m invested for AI research adds to an earlier $500m that Singapore committed under its Research, Innovation, and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan.

Heng also unveiled two new national AI programmes in Singapore: one for finance, to provide financial risk insights, and one for the government, which aims to improve public services.

The former is a joint initiative between the local regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National AI Office (NAIO) at the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office. Called the national artificial intelligence programme in finance, it aims to build deep AI capabilities within Singapore’s financial sector with the goal of strengthening customer service, risk management, and business competitiveness, according to a press release from MAS.

It currently consists of five initiatives, including NovA!, which aims to generate financial risk insights; Veritas, an AI governance initiative to help FIs utilise AI and Data Analytics (AIDA) responsibly based on MAS’ fairness, ethics, accountability, and transparency or FEAT principles; and the Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering Financing of Terrorism surveillance and analytics programme or ASAP.

It also counts the AIDA grant, which aims to provide funding support of up to $1.5m to help FIs adopt; and the Finance, AI, and Marketplace (FINAiM), which comprise of industry events and panel discussions to promote knowledge sharing in AI adoption

Heng kicked off this year’s iteration of the annual conference, which carries the theme "Web 3.0 and its impact on financial services.” The week-long event is available for livestream to over 60,000 participants from over 7,000 organisations globally and features over 700 speakers, 350 sessions, and 260 exhibitors, according to SFF 2021.

(US$1 = S$1.35)

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