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Google Cloud and Singapore government team up on AI

Singapore’s National AI office will tap Google Cloud’s expertise in artificial intelligence to build artificial intelligence applications and train public sector officers on AI

Google Cloud will be supporting Singapore’s ongoing efforts to bolster the country’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in a wide-ranging agreement that spans skills training, research and development, and AI governance.

Announced on Google’s 15th anniversary in Singapore today, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will see the government working with Google Cloud to create, test and scale AI applications in key areas such as finance, sustainability and healthcare.

The partnership is being led by Singapore’s National AI Office and is its first public-private AI partnership with a global technology company.

To build AI capabilities across the public sector, Google Cloud will also provide dedicated training resources and certification programmes to cultivate deep AI and machine learning proficiency for identified public sector officers.

Google Cloud said these programmes reinforce its commitment to bridging the AI talent gap and will build on its Skills Ignition SG training programme in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority.

They will also complement Google Cloud’s contribution to the recent collaboration between AI Singapore and Singapore’s Ministry of Education to give local students a headstart in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Lastly, Google Cloud will support the Singapore government’s efforts to shape AI governance and ethics in key sectors like finance. These efforts complement Google’s involvement in Singapore’s Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI, and its contributions to the Model AI Governance Framework.

Chng Zhenzhi, director of the National AI Office, which comes under the auspices of the government’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, noted that the agreement would enable Singapore to benefit from Google’s deep technical expertise and investments while allowing Google to tap on Singapore’s innovation ecosystem.

“Singapore can also be a testbed for Google’s efforts to trial new solutions safely, before introducing them to the region and beyond. With the MoU, we can look forward to novel AI solutions that will make an impact on the way Singaporeans – and people around the world – live and work,” he added.

Sherie Ng, Google Cloud’s country director for Singapore and Malaysia, said through the partnership with the Singapore government, “we aim to advance technology’s ability to deliver greater societal benefit in areas like financial inclusion, carbon footprint reduction and personalised healthcare, while ensuring equity, privacy, transparency and accountability”.

Google Cloud’s latest partnership with the Singapore government follows a joint programme with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) that includes the development of a new open source cloud platform dedicated to climate finance.

Called Point Carbon Zero, the programme is a collaboration under MAS’s Project Greenprint and seeks to tap climate financial technology (fintech) applications to bolster the financial sector’s access to accurate and granular climate-related data, for more efficient deployment of capital towards green and sustainable projects.

Some 100 projects will be shortlisted for further development and tested with a pool of 1,000 financial institutions on their ability to facilitate capital flows towards green and sustainable projects in Asia.

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