Tie-up is a first of its kind for the island nation
The Singaporean government has enlisted the help of Google Cloud to develop AI solutions and support the upskilling of its workforce. It is the country’s first private-public partnership with a major tech company.
Their memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement outlines plans for Google Cloud and Alphabet’s subsidiaries to work with the National AI Office and other government agencies to co-create, test and scale AI solutions in key sectors such as finance, sustainability, and health care.
The agreement will also see Google Cloud provide training resources and certification programs covering AI and deep learning. These will complement the Singaporean government’s existing efforts to build digital skills, including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) programs for students.
The collaboration benefits both parties, according to Chng Zhenzhi, director of the Singaporean National AI Office. “Singapore will benefit from Google’s deep technical expertise and investments, while Google can tap on our rich innovation ecosystem,” she said.
Google Cloud is also being brought in to support the Singapore government's efforts to shape AI governance and ethics. Google already is involved in both Singapore's Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI and the country's Self-Assessment Guide for Organizations and Model AI Governance Framework.
“We aim to advance the technology’s ability to deliver greater societal benefit in areas like financial inclusion, carbon footprint reduction, and personalized healthcare, while ensuring equity, privacy, transparency, and accountability,” said Sherie Ng, country director for Singapore and Malaysia at Google Cloud.
Singapore has spent the last few years increasingly adopting AI. In May 2019, the country’s intellectual property office launched a plan that would fast-track AI-related patents. In 2021, the government announced it would be spending $50 million on AI technologies related to telecom infrastructure. And in April of this year, the country struck a deal with the U.S. to collaborate on AI projects including plans to develop interoperable AI governance frameworks.