Singapore

DPM Heng: All tech has to be applied with the user in mind

Singapore must put people at the heart of how it uses technology, stay open and connected to global developments, and ensure good governance for the use of emerging technologies, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

These are the key principles that should underpin Singapore's quest for better innovation, he said in announcing a national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy.

Speaking at the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology conference, Mr Heng said all technology, no matter how sophisticated, has to be applied with the user in mind.

This mindset must be complemented by ensuring workers are skilled in the use of new technology.

"Otherwise, we will end with exclusive products that only the highly educated can access, or the wealthy can afford."

Singapore must also go beyond learning in isolation to actively collaborating across society and national borders, Mr Heng said.

A key part of this dynamic is the collaboration between the research community, industry and the Government in what is known as the triple helix model of innovation.

To this end, a platform to catalyse AI adoption by smaller companies was launched yesterday. Called AI Makerspace, the platform is offered by AI Singapore and provides pre-built AI tools, as well as clinics and consultations with experts.

Mr Heng singled out cyber security and AI as two emerging areas where good governance is critical.

"There is a particular urgency to do this for cyberspace, as cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure... have become both highly likely and highly damaging," he said.

Singapore was among the Asean countries that agreed to set up a working-level committee to ensure responsible state behaviour in cyberspace last month.

Technology