Google Cloud will be working closely with Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to enhance artificial intelligence (AI) innovation in the city-state.
Under the collaboration, Google Cloud and Alphabet’s subsidiaries will work closely with SNDGG’s National AI Office and other government agencies to co-create, test-bed, and scale AI solutions in key sectors -- including finance, sustainability, and healthcare -- to solve critical societal issues.
Google Cloud will also provide dedicated training resources and certification programmes to cultivate deep AI and machine learning proficiency for identified public sector officers. "[This will] enable and continuously train public sector officers so that they have better awareness of how to use AI and technology to impact Singaporeans' everyday life," says Sherie Ng, country director for Singapore and Malaysia at Google Cloud, during a media briefing at the Google for Singapore event earlier today.
The programmes will build on Google’s Skills Ignition SG training programme in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority. They will also complement Google Cloud’s contribution to the recent collaboration between AI Singapore and the Ministry of Education to give local students a headstart in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Additionally, Google Cloud will support the Singapore government’s efforts to shape AI governance and ethics in key sectors. "[Since AI needs guardrails], we are offering support in the development of the ethics as well as the governance framework by offering what we see as best practices around the world and some of our data and our research activities," says Ng.
Those efforts will complement Google’s involvement in Singapore’s Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI, and its contributions to the Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organizations and Model AI Governance Framework.
"This is a win-win collaboration. Singapore will benefit from Google’s deep technical expertise and investments, while Google can tap on our rich innovation ecosystem. Singapore can also be a testbed for Google’s efforts to trial new solutions safely, before introducing them to the region and beyond,” says Dr Chng Zhenzhi, director of the National AI Office at SNDGG.
He continues: “With the Memorandum of Understanding, we can look forward to novel AI solutions that will make an impact on the way Singaporeans – and people around the world – live and work. This is one of the many examples of how the public service and private sector can come together to undertake innovative projects for the greater good.”
Google Cloud's Ng adds: “It is a privilege to be the first technology company to enter into a partnership with SNDGG’s National AI Office to co-develop and deploy new AI solutions of value and relevance to Singaporeans and the future economy.
“Through this public-private collaboration in the field of AI, we aim to advance the technology’s ability to deliver greater societal benefit in areas like financial inclusion, carbon footprint reduction, and personalised healthcare, while ensuring equity, privacy, transparency, and accountability.”
Third data centre to support Singapore's digital economy
To serve the needs of Asia Pacific’s digital economy, Google has invested in technical infrastructure – including a network of data centres, cloud regions and subsea cables – connecting Singapore to the region and beyond.
Today, it announced that its third data centre facility is completed and in operation, bringing its long-term investment in Singapore data centres to US$850 million.
The new facility will enhance access to Google services, including that of AI and more. A commissioned report assessed Google’s recurrent investment and operations in its data centres in Singapore to have generated US$216 million in economic activity in 2020.
“Over the past 15 years, we have been deeply conscious of our responsibility to contribute to Singapore's advancement. The commitments we're making today – including the completion of our third data centre facility – reflect our confidence in Singapore's technology leadership for the region and the world. We're ready to build on our progress, pursue new opportunities ahead, and shape a strong, shared future," says Scott Beaumont, president of Google Asia Pacific.