Singapore might not be the biggest country, but it never fails to go big when it comes to innovation. 

In 2017, it was announced that Singapore would be home to the world’s largest artificial intelligence (AI) hub. The Straits Times reported that it will be “a key growth engine of the economy”, with the intent of commercialising AI initiatives into mainstream society. Using AI as fuel for the future, the hub was launched with the goal of building 100 AI startups per year. They also aimed to attract global talent to Singapore to incubate their applications and collaborate with local teams. 

What is Singapore doing right now?

Fast forward to the present day, and Singapore is doubling down on their AI efforts once again, as declared in a statement by the Smart Nation initiative’s Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

The minister cited how AI, particularly deep or machine learning, has set forth a modern revolution, promoting services such as voice assistants, language translations, GPS optimisation, credit card fraud alerts, and much more. While Singapore is fortunate enough to have a solid foundation for AI, they want to take more significant strides towards what she describes as an AI-driven economy.

Among some of the country’s plans, the Minister revealed that the government will set up an inter-agency task force committed to AI. Channeling their focus into how Singapore can transform itself into a centre for AI solutions, some of the issues they hope to address include how to pre-empt cyber attacks, predicting when public transport will break down, and even detecting high levels of stress among students. According to Singapore’s Digital Government Blueprint, each ministry is also mandated to have at least one AI project by 2023, for the purpose of opening the doors to more technologically driven investments in the country.

With that, it looks like Singapore’s prime spot as Asia Pacific’s frontrunner in technology will become even harder to match. After all, AI alone has long been an area of interest across multiple industries.

Taking a lead in autonomous vehicles

Just recently, national standards were introduced to bolster AI initiatives in the autonomous vehicle industry. Technical Reference 68 (TR 68) will promote the safe deployment of driverless vehicles in Singapore and is hailed as the first national standard in the whole world.

Not only are autonomous cars programmed to be a much safer option, but they also have the potential to impact the environment in a positive way. With autonomous cars programmed for optimised driving, fuel is used more efficiently and systematically — an integral part of Singapore’s push for a green sustainable city.

The rest of sectors are catching up

Additionally, AI use in Singapore’s financial sector has also been growing. Previously, The Monetary Authority of Singapore made a generous investment of SGD27 million (US$20 million) to the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant. It is meant to create new products and services that will keep Singapore thriving as a fintech hub.

Moreover, AI is also being used to address gaps that people have failed to solve before, such as Singapore’s extremely low proportion of healthcare professionals per capita. Not only is AI supplying the extra resource by automating time-intensive tasks, its other benefits include improving the accuracy in which patients are diagnosed.

This article was drafted by Reese Jones and edited by the Tech Collective editorial team