Singapore looks to accelerate AI development with investment in compute and talent

2 months ago 36
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Singapore is setting aside at least SG$1 billion ($741.97 million) to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) development, including securing access to the necessary compute power and skillsets. The country also plans to upgrade its national broadband network and build a new cybersecurity command hub. 

The investments aim to support the government's efforts to tap technology across key sectors and are part of its fiscal 2024 budget, running through to March next year.

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The SG$1 billion earmarked for AI will be invested over the next five years in compute, talent, and industry development, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in his budget speech. 

"AI is not just about ChatGPT or large language models. It is a general-purpose technology, like electricity, the internal combustion engine, the computer, or the internet," Wong said. 

"It has the potential to transform a wide range of industries, and to enhance productivity across many existing processes, from drug discovery, to organizing warehouses, or driving vehicles."

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Wong said the investment will ensure Singapore can secure access to the advanced chips that are essential for AI. The money will also help to encourage global and local market players to establish AI development hubs in the country. These centers of excellence will drive industry collaboration and innovation, fueling value creation for the ecosystem, he said. 

Additional resources will also be set aside to spur investments in upgrading Singapore's national broadband network, with the hope of enabling mass-market access to broadband speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which is ten times faster than the 1Gbps in most households in the country today. 

This investment will help ensure Singpore's connectivity infrastructure can support emerging technologies, such as AI and immersive media, as they become more pervasive, Wong said. He added that the government hopes to achieve the 10Gbps target in the second half of this decade.

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Adoption of emerging technologies, including AI and quantum computing, will also change the shape of the threat landscape, where scams, ransomware, data breaches, and denial-of-service attacks are increasingly common, he noted. 

The use of these emerging technologies means cyberattacks will increase in speed, scale, and sophistication. This threat also means Singapore will need to beef up its cyber defense, Wong said, adding that its defense force has already established a digital and intelligence unit. 

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Efforts are now underway to set up a new national cybersecurity command center to better coordinate the country's cyber-defense operations and to improve collaboration with industry and academia. 

"This will improve our capabilities to monitor, detect, and coordinate our defenses against cyber threats," Wong said. 

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