The Singapore government is tapping into Google Cloud's AI tools. Here's what we know so far

The Singapore government is tapping into Google Cloud’s AI tools. Here’s what we know so far.Source: Google Cloud Summit Singapore

The Singapore government is tapping into Google Cloud’s AI tools. Here’s what we know so far

  • In partnership with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Google Cloud unveiled the Artificial Intelligence Government Cloud Cluster (AGCC).
  • Singapore’s central bank also signed an MOU with Google Cloud to utilize generative AI for its regulatory efforts.
  • Google Cloud and the Ministry of Communications and Information also announced a collaboration to advance Singapore’s national AI strategy.

In 2019, Singapore launched the National AI Strategy, and four years later, the government announced that the city-state’s public sector is ready to tap into Google Cloud’s platform to build and use generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Unveiled at the Google Cloud Summit in Singapore, the government also took the stage to announce other collaborations and MoUs with the search engine giant’s cloud arm.

For starters, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Google Cloud announced the launch of an Artificial Intelligence Government Cloud Cluster (AGCC), a comprehensive platform designed to accelerate AI adoption in Singapore’s public sector. The cluster would also help in advancing local research efforts in applied AI and support the growth of the local AI startup ecosystem.

In a statement to the press, SNDGO said the AGCC is hosted in a dedicated cloud computing environment in Singapore. “Through the AGCC, agencies can take advantage of Google Cloud’s enterprise-grade AI technology stack and extensive partner ecosystem of software-as-a-service companies, consultancies, and AI startups to build and deploy scalable and impactful AI applications quickly, securely, responsibly, and cost-effectively,” the statement reads.

For context, in May 2017, the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office set up the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to drive and coordinate Smart Nation and digitalization efforts across the Singapore Government. SNDGG is made up of the SNDGO, which plans and prioritizes key strategic national projects, drives the digital transformation of government, builds long-term ICT capabilities for the public sector, and promotes adoption and participation from the public and industry to take a collective approach in creating a Smart Nation. 

SNDGG also comprises the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) as the implementing agency of SNDGO. Therefore, to enable government agencies to deploy AI applications most effectively and responsibly, Google Cloud will partner with GovTech to design and run whole-of-government Digital Academy programs that help agencies build in-house data science and AI expertise, develop AI innovation strategies, and implement best practices for data governance

“These training programs expand Google Cloud’s existing public sector skilling commitments. The programs will be tailored to 150,000 public officers across 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards,” SNDGO said. GovTech is also Singapore’s first public sector organization to leverage the AGCC. 

Vincent Loy, Assistant Managing Director, Technology Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore; Ben King, Managing Director, Google Singapore, APAC Agency; Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies; Karan Bajwa, Vice President, APAC, Google Cloud; Sherie Ng, Country Director, Singapore, Google Cloud; Chan Cheow Hoe, Government Chief Digital Technology Officer, Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, and Senior Advisor, Economic Development Board

MAS tapping Google Cloud for AI capabilities 

Besides the launch of AGCC, Google Cloud has signed a memorandum of understanding with the central bank. At the event, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Information and Communication (MCI). 

MAS seeks to explore opportunities to advance the development and use of responsible generative AI applications by conducting technical pilots and co-creating solutions for the central bank’s internal and industry-facing digital services. It will also aid technological competency development on deep AI skill sets for MAS’s technologists.

MAS’s assistant managing director Vincent Loy shared that the collaboration allows the bank to explore potential use cases in their functions and operations that could harness generative AI while prioritizing information security and data and AI model governance. “Through this, we hope to inspire greater adoption of responsible generative AI in the financial sector.”

As for MCI, it will be responsible for “bolstering” Singapore’s national AI vision and strategy. Google Cloud and MCI will also look to accelerate the development of home-grown AI technologies; build a sustainable talent pipeline for the future AI economy; supercharge the adoption of cloud AI technologies in Singapore; and root Singapore’s AI progress in Responsible AI.