two developers discussing on a work matter

Singapore is working towards becoming a smart nation by bolstering the level of proficiency in Artificial Intelligence. Source: Shutterstock

Singapore driving smart nation development through AI education

SINGAPORE is laying down the groundwork for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) through education.

Two new initiatives led by AI Singapore (AISG) will target 12,000 industry professionals and young students in an effort to build up local skillsets in AI.

The programmes will demonstrate practical use cases of AI and enable professionals to boost productivity with intelligent tools.

As the country works towards becoming a smart nation, the government identified AI as one of the four core technologies essential to the country’s push to be “digitally ready”.

However, technological investments alone are insufficient to drive this; the government must implement user-friendly public services, and encourage its population to not only accept but also to spearhead the change.

“AI has the potential to catalyze change. In an increasingly digital world, it is imperative that everyone is AI-ready so that they can benefit from the immense potential of AI,” said Professor Ho Teck Hua, Executive Chairman of AI Singapore.

Under the country’s TechSkills Accelerator programme, the government is rolling out two initiatives to help build technological skills that would contribute towards the local ecosystem.

One of them is through offering free programmes to the public, introducing them to the potential of AI technologies. Known as AI for Everyone, the project aims to enroll 10,000 ‘pupils’, including secondary school students and working adults

AI for Everyone would be supported by industry regulator Infocomm Media Authority (IMDA), Microsoft, and Intel.

“To unlock the economic and societal benefits of AI, we believe that the AI building blocks such as computer vision, speech and knowledge recognition should be made accessible to everyone, every day and everywhere,” said Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

The second initiative, known as AI for Industry, is targeted towards industry professionals who are more technologically inclined. Offering software development skills for Python, the project will train a cohort of 2,000 specialists in basic AI competency.

The syllabus will cover both online and offline modules developed by AISG, IMDA, Microsoft, Intel, and online AI learning platform DataCamp, over the course of three months. Upon completion, each participant would receive a Foundation in AI certification.

“With everything around us getting smarter and connected, AI is finding its way in our daily tasks without us even realizing it,” said Santhosh Viswanathan, Managing Director, Intel, Asia Pacific and Japan. “To accelerate its application in solving the world’s biggest challenges, we need people with the right technical skills.”

“Learning Data Science by doing is key to helping upskill engineers, developers and other IT professionals in Singapore,” added Jonathan Cornelissen, CEO and Founder of DataCamp.

For Singapore to be successful in becoming a smart nation, it needs a population that has the knowledge and skills to help enable a digitally driven economy.

By providing education to the masses, the government helps to open up future job opportunities and career advancements, which in turn will drive the change to achieve smart nation status.