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Google Cloud teams up with Singapore government on AI initiatives

Over 100 generative AI use cases have been tested through the AI Trailblazers programme, among other initiatives to spur AI adoption and build AI talent in the city-state

Google Cloud has teamed up with the Singapore government on a slew of initiatives to drive artificial intelligence (AI) adoption, build an ecosystem of AI startups and expand the pool of AI talent in the city-state.

These efforts include the AI Trailblazers programme that provides public and private sector organisations with Google Cloud’s infrastructure, Vertex AI platform, foundation models, and low-code development tools, at no cost, to build generative AI (GenAI) applications.

The GenAI applications built by government agencies are run in sandboxes administered by the government’s Smart Nation Group on the AI Government Cloud Cluster, while those built by Singapore-based firms run in sandboxes managed by Digital Industry Singapore.

Over 100 GenAI use cases have been tested since the programme was launched in July 2023. For example, TDCX, a business process outsourcing provider that handles customer service for its clients, has built a GenAI-powered assistive tool that automatically converts audio recordings from speech to text, analyses and scores customer service specialists’ interactions, and generates customised performance enhancement strategies.

The tool also provides managers with visibility into the top customer issues that their agents are encountering, as well as insights and recommendations on areas that can be improved with further coaching, and week-on-week performance analysis to determine if training interventions have been effective.

Agents can also leverage a GenAI-powered live call assistant tool to access the information they need during calls with customers, transcribe calls in real-time and receive recommendations to address customer concerns. TDCX is currently testing and refining both tools with key clients before implementing them at scale and across multiple languages.

In the public sector, Singapore’s trade and industry ministry has built a conversational agent that helps non-technical users easily retrieve the information they need through queries in natural language. With the agent, users can interrogate the data to obtain data-driven insights and generate charts, accompanied by the structured query language (SQL) statement used to generate the response.

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In the next iteration of the AI Trailblazers programme aimed at helping up to 150 more organisations in Singapore to build GenAI services, participants will also be able to use Google’s new Gemini multimodal foundation model and Duet AI for Developers to build, deploy and operate applications faster.

To help startups harness the potential of GenAI in their products and expand their reach into new markets, Google Cloud and EnterpriseSG have also launched an accelerator programme that provides startups with up to $350,000 in Google Cloud credits upon graduation from the programme, access to Google Cloud’s AI stack, as well as mentorship and technical project support.

In addition to opportunities to connect with potential investors and customers, successful applicants will receive up to S$250,000 and S$500,000 respectively in additional support to sustain the growth of their startups.

Soh Leng Wan, assistant CEO of EnterpriseSG, said that as adoption of AI gains momentum, it is important for Singapore to nurture a thriving AI ecosystem with startups that can push the boundaries in this field with new innovations. “Our AI ecosystem can also serve to offer their AI expertise to uplift the growth and capabilities of wider industries,” he said. “Through this partnership with Google Cloud, we aim to give promising startups a boost as they look to pursue AI-related innovation and commercialise their solutions.”

To groom more AI talent, Google Cloud is extending an additional 3,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships to its local distribution partners, with a focus on upskilling mid-career professionals. Google said those who attained the career certificates by undergoing online training programmes have seen positive impact in their careers, with several learners pivoting into AI-related roles.

Google Career Certificates is one of the pathways offered through the Skills Ignition SG programme, which was launched by Google in partnership with Infocomm Media Development Authority in 2020 to help Singaporeans acquire the digital skills they need to unlock new career possibilities.

Singapore recently updated its national AI strategy to focus on driving more widespread adoption of AI, spurring people and businesses to operate with the ambition to be world-leading in AI, and working with stakeholders in and outside Singapore to exchange ideas and administer AI-enabled solutions at scale.

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