Singapore and World Economic Forum Driving AI Adoption and Innovation

January 22, 2020

Fifteen global companies have taken up Singapore’s AI Model Governance Framework; Practical examples for organisations to follow suit

SWITZERLAND, DAVOS – 21 January, 2020: Singapore sees Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) as an important and fundamental technology for the Digital Economy, with AI-powered products offering a level of personalised service at scale that was previously unimaginable.

In the global discourse on AI ethics and governance issue, Singapore believes that its balanced approach can facilitate innovation, safeguard consumer interests, and serve as a common global reference point. Therefore, Singapore announced today a set of new initiatives on AI governance to enhance consumer trust, namely: 

  1. An Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations (“ISAGO”); 
  2. A Compendium of Use Cases; and 
  3. The second edition of the Model AI Governance Framework. 

These initiatives follow Singapore’s launch of the Model AI Governance Framework1 in Davos in 2019, as well as the announcement of Singapore’s National AI Strategy in November 2019, and demonstrate the progress made in supporting organisations in deploying responsible AI. The new initiatives were announced by Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, and Ms Kay Firth-Butterfield, AI Portfolio Head at the 

1 The Model Framework is a living document that sets out two high-level guiding ethical principles to implementing AI. They are (1) that decisions made by or with the assistance of AI be explainable, transparent and fair to consumers; and (2) that AI solutions be human- centric. The Model Framework has seen takeup and alignment from over fifteen organisations of all sizes internationally – from financial giants such as DBS, HSBC, Mastercard and Visa, fintech firms such as Suade Labs, to technology firms such as pymetrics, UCARE.AI and a school, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. 

World Economic Forum, at a joint press conference with the WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“WEF C4IR”) at WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Commenting on the initiatives, Mr V K Rajah SC, Chairman of Singapore’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data said, “As AI becomes more pervasive, it is important to build a trusted environment for its use through a multi-stakeholder effort involving public, private and people sectors. Singapore took a huge step today by leading the way in building and sustaining a trusted AI environment. It is encouraging that the collaboration between Singapore and WEF C4IR has borne fruit through the ISAGO, and I encourage organisations to use the guides. The Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data is proud to be part of this journey and will continue to support such efforts in creating an enabling environment for our businesses and citizens.”

Ms Kay Firth-Butterfield, AI Portfolio Head at the World Economic Forum, also said, “There are many challenges with the deployment of AI in companies. The Framework should be considered an essential tool in the governance work which we need to do to ensure that companies us the benefits of AI wisely for their stakeholders and society.” 

Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations 

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) and the WEF C4IR announced a collaboration in 2019 to grow discourse on and further AI and data innovation. The result of this collaboration is the newly co-developed ISAGO. 

Intended as a companion guide to the Model Framework, ISAGO aims to help organisations assess the alignment of their AI governance practices with the Model Framework. It also provides an extensive list of useful industry examples and practices to help organisations implement the Model Framework. The guide was developed in close consultation with the industry, with contributions from over 60 organisations – such as DataRobot, DBS Bank, Google, KPMG, Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce, Suade Labs and Visa. 

Compendium of Use Cases 

To complement the Model Framework and ISAGO, IMDA has also released a Compendium of Use Cases (“Compendium”) that demonstrates how local and international organisations across different sectors and sizes implemented or aligned their AI governance practices with all sections of the Model Framework. The Compendium also illustrates how the featured organisations have effectively put in place accountable AI governance practices and benefitted from the use of AI in their line of business. 

Second Edition of Model Framework 

To keep pace with AI’s rapid development, Singapore has consulted organisations using AI in Singapore and abroad on how to further strengthen the Model Framework and its four areas.

The second edition includes additional considerations (such as robustness and reproducibility) and refines the original Model Framework for greater relevance and usability. For instance, the section on customer relationship management has been expanded to include considerations on interactions and communications with a broader network of stakeholders. 

The second edition of the Model Framework continues to take a sector- and technology- agnostic approach that can complement sector-specific requirements and guidelines.

The three documents can be downloaded at www.imda.gov.sg/AI

Singapore aims to advance its vision to be a leading Digital Economy and Smart Nation, continually embracing digital transformation and reinventing itself to remain globally competitive. The initiatives are key components of Singapore’s National AI Strategy to encourage innovation and build public trust in AI. 

Resources: 

Annex A: Quotes from organisations about Singapore’s approach to AI governance and the Model Framework 

Annex B: List of organisations featured in the Model Framework 

Annex C: Background on Singapore’s AI and Data initiatives 

2 The four areas are: Internal governance structures & measures; Human involvement in AI-augmented decision making; Operations Management; and Stakeholder Interaction & Communication 

ISSUED BY THE INFO-COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 

About Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission. For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg. 

For media clarifications, please contact: 

CHAN Dawn (Ms)
Assistant Manager, Communications and Marketing
DID: (65) 6751 2771
Email: [email protected] 

NEUBRONNER Eugene (Mr)
Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6211 1182
Email: [email protected] 

CHAN Adrian (Mr)
Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing,
DID: (65) 6211 1510
Email: [email protected] 

For Davos on-site media clarifications, please contact: 

LIM Joanne (Ms)
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
Email: [email protected] 

RUSSO Amanda (Ms)
Head of Media Content, World Economic Forum
Tel: (+1) 415 734 0589
WeChat: Amanda-Russo-1
Email: [email protected] 

TEDENEKE Alem (Ms)
Media Content, World Economic Forum
Tel: (+1) 646 204 9191
Email: Alem.Ted[email protected] 

Annex A: Quotes from organisations about Singapore’s approach to AI governance and the Model Framework 

Callsign

Chief Executive Officer and Founder Mr Zia Hayat 

“As a business that helps our clients authenticate user identities, transparency is at the very heart of everything we do. Therefore, as our AI models grew in complexity we knew it was crucial to have the right internal governance structure and measures in place. Having already developed our own processes to meet this requirement, when we reviewed Singapore’s Model AI Framework it was clear that it would be a fantastic complement to our existing approach to model AI governance. Its detail is incredibly beneficial for validation as we navigate difficult ethical governance questions and resolve them in an appropriate timeframe. Being able to refer back to the Model Framework is an additional reassurance for customers that they are in safe hands and has helped us as we engage a diverse range of internal stakeholders, helping guide open discussion and facilitated, accountable development of our AI models.” 

CUJO AI

Chief Executive Officer Mr Einaras von Gravrock 

“At CUJO AI, we recognise the importance of being accountable to our stakeholders. We have implemented clear internal governance structures and measures to ensure robust oversight of our use of AI, and these are aligned with Singapore’s Model AI Framework. We believe the Framework would be helpful for organisations who are starting their journey in AI governance. The Framework is thorough and very useful in approaching difficult ethical AI governance issues, and will help other organisations better explain their products and processes while building trust with their clients.” 

DBS Bank

Group Head of Legal, Compliance and Secretariat Mr Lam Chee Kin 

“Singapore’s Model AI framework is a remarkable initiative that has helped DBS develop and refine its view on how to govern AI. By using the thinking contemplated in the framework, we can identify tough questions around ethics and supervision of AI, and from the answers we can build better processes. Handling data and AI well is a continuous journey, but we believe the effort is necessary to maintain customer trust and stakeholder accountability – which every business needs in order to secure its future.” 

Facebook

Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Public Policy Ms Erin Egan 

“Singapore’s Model AI Framework is a useful guide for organizations committed to AI governance and are looking to build foundational AI ethical principles into their product development and deployment processes.” 

Grab

Chief Technology Officer for Mobility and Core Technology Mr Mark Porter 

“As an AI everywhere organisation, Grab is leveraging the technology to elevate the quality of life for some 650 million individuals who live in Southeast Asia. We strongly believe that AI adoption and development must be supported with a sound governance framework so that it can contribute to building a future that is smarter, safer and more inclusive. Grab welcomes the introduction of new initiatives to guide organisations in Singapore to better harness AI in an efficient and responsible manner, and sees the Model Framework as a valuable starting point for companies looking to adopt AI.” 

Mastercard

Executive Vice President for AI Mr Rohit Chauhan 

“Ensuring that an individual’s data is handled responsibly should be at the center of an organization’s data practices. Having worked with the PDPC on the Framework, we believe that it is comprehensive and it has served as a valuable reference point in developing our own practices. Organizations of all sizes will benefit from this Framework when developing their responsible AI and data practices.” 

MSD

Executive Director of Singapore IT Hub and Global Data Science Lead, MSD Ms Julie Olszewski 

“MSD is tackling some of the world’s biggest health challenges through medical inventions, public health programs and partnerships. We continuously push the boundaries of science with the hope that our inventions will lead to better health for generations to come, and it has been a great honour to partner with the Singapore government in advancing our mission of saving and improving lives. The AI framework is a key aspect in achieving Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, aimed at improving the livelihoods of its citizens through the use of technology. We look forward to continuing our involvement, and to partner further with the government to make a positive difference for the people of Singapore.” 

Ngee Ann Polytechnic 

Deputy Principal and Registrar Mr Mah Wee Beng 

“At Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), in harnessing deep-technology solutions like AI to help us automate processes and enhance experiences for our stakeholders, we are mindful that responsible deployment of AI is of paramount importance. Through the successful pilot of our Early Admissions Exercise’s Virtual Assistant (EVA), we realised the benefits of adopting PDPC’s Model AI Governance Framework in making EVA a reliable and effective AI-powered application. The launch of EVA – based on the positive feedback from student applicants and our lecturers who administered the selection process – has enabled NP to enhance student engagement, improve selection and reduce administrative workload for the admissions exercise.” 

Omada Health

Chief Executive Officer Mr Sean Duffy 

“At Omada, we take our clients’ data confidentiality very seriously, but also realized it was critical for us to identify and track data to flag out any anomalies or abnormalities. Singapore’s Model AI Framework was the perfect answer, as it helped us work through our products and come up with the right guidelines and responses that also fit our clients’ needs. The Framework was thorough and very useful in helping us to approach difficult ethical governance questions and resolve them in a quick and timely manner, and has helped us better explain Omada to our clients’ and build trust in our products and services.” 

pymetrics

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Dr Frida Polli 

“At pymetrics, we build ethically designed AI-based technologies with unbiased science to create a future we all want to live in. Our goal is to help every person entering or already in the workforce achieve their true potential. Partnering with Industry and Government is critical to achieving this goal. pymetrics’ Audit AI tool, coupled with our robust governance, operational and deployment processes are aligned with Singapore’s Model AI Framework. We are honored to contribute to the Framework and partner with the Singapore Government. The Framework provides guidance to help companies approach and think through ethical AI governance (and implementation) within their organisation.” 

Symphony AyasdiAI 

Head of Centre of Excellence for Analytics Mr Stephen Moody 

“AI has the power to improve our lives but only if we adopt safe, fair and transparent processes around its use. At Symphony AyasdiAI we have developed methods for explainability in the domain of complex, noisy and biased data – i.e. the real world. These capabilities align well with Singapore’s Model AI Framework and such transparency will enable trust in the next generation of AI solutions. This Framework provides an excellent starting point for organisations to define their AI governance process.”

UCARE.AI

Chief Technology Officer and Founder Mr Neal Liu 

“The guiding principles in the AI Model Governance Framework are aligned with UCARE.AI’s mission to advance humankind and solve real world problems through the ethical and responsible use of data. The framework has been vital in providing valuable guidance on AI governance when implementing solutions such as our award-winning Cost Predictor and developing new ML tools / platforms such as our AlgoBox. We continue to partner with IMDA and PDPC to proactively improve current practices to evolve with changing business challenges that arise as we implement our AI solutions at scale for our enterprise clients.” 

Suade Labs

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Ms Diana Paredes 

“At Suade Labs, governance procedures for emerging technologies is a topic that we are passionate about, and therefore we were very pleased to contribute to the Framework and share some of our experience of developing AI in our organisation. We have put in place robust governance practices in all facets of our AI development and deployment processes and are aligned with the proposed Framework. At times when the capabilities and uptake of AI is developing at such a rapid pace, the need for standards that will ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI has never been more pressing. We believe this Framework will be a useful guide for organisations who are starting their journey of AI governance and who want to remain agile and innovative in the process. The Framework is thorough and very useful in approaching difficult ethical AI governance issues, and will help other organisations better explain their products and processes while building trust with their clients/consumers.” 

Visa

Chris Clark 

“Visa believes strongly in the power of responsible AI, from real-time fraud risk assessment to consumer-centric innovations to enhance their purchase journey. We’re proud to support the Singapore Model AI Framework, which helps organisations manage governance challenges and build trust with key stakeholders as we innovate to capture the potential of AI. Visa was an early adopter of artificial intelligence, including our 1993 launch of using neural networks to deliver real-time assessments of fraud risk at the point-of-sale. Today, Visa is investing heavily in the tools, talent and infrastructure needed to unlock the full potential of AI for our clients, partners and cardholders. For example, Visa Travel Predict solution enables banks to provide targeted offers based on cardholders’ travel behavior, underpinned by Visa’s robust data use principles, privacy rules and focus on consumer choice. Responsible, ethical innovation is at the core of every new solution we build and bring to market.” 

Annex B1: List of organizations featured in the Model Framework 

S/N

Organization

Sector

Sections of the Model

 

 

 

Framework

 

 

 

 

1

CUJO AI

Cybersecurity

Internal Governance Structures

 

 

 

& Measures

2

Mastercard

Financial

 

 

 

payments

 

3

Grab

Tech

Human involvement in AI-

 

 

 

augmented decision-making

4

Suade Labs

FinTech

Human involvement in AI-

 

 

 

augmented decision-making and

 

 

 

Operations Management

5

Symphony AyasdiAI

Tech

Operations Management

 

 

 

 

6

pymetrics

HR Tech

 

 

 

 

 

7

Facebook

Tech

Stakeholder Interaction &

 

 

 

Communication

8

MSD

Pharmaceutical

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex B2: List of organizations featured in the Compendium 

 

 

 

 

S/N

Organization

Sector

AI Governance application

 

 

 

 

1

DBS Bank

Banking

Anti-money laundering detection

 

 

 

 

2

HSBC

Banking

Enhance loan applications

 

 

 

 

3

Visa

Financial

Forecasting credit/debit Visa

 

 

payments

cards for travel

4

Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Education

Review students’ applications

 

 

 

for discretionary admission

5

Omada Health

Healthcare

Behavioural counselling for

 

 

 

diabetes and obesity-related

 

 

 

diseases

6

UCARE.AI

Healthcare

Medical bill forecasting

 

 

 

 

7

MSD

Pharmaceutical

Understand employee

 

 

 

engagement and attrition risks

8

Callsign

IT/Security

Authenticate user identities

 

 

 

 

Annex C: Background on Singapore’s AI and Data work 

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) has been identified as a key step of Singapore’s Smart Nation journey, and one of four emerging technologies essential to growing Singapore’s Digital Economy, alongside Cybersecurity, Immersive Media and the Internet of Things.

Singapore’s National AI Strategy (“Strategy”), announced in November 2019, sets out a plan for Singapore to become a leader in developing and deploying scalable, impactful AI solutions, in key sectors of high value and relevance to our citizens and businesses by 2030. The Strategy identifies five National AI Projects for a start, to use AI technologies to address key national challenges and deliver impactful social and/or economic benefits to Singaporeans. These projects are in transport and logistics, smart cities and estates, healthcare, education, and safety and security.

The Strategy also outlines the development of key enablers to anchor a vibrant and sustainable AI ecosystem, and drive AI innovation and adoption across the economy. One of the key enablers is partnerships between public sector, industry and research performer. Singapore believes that it is important to assist industries in reaping the benefits of AI by driving understanding and adoption of its fundamentals and possibilities across sectors. Another key enabler is international collaboration. Singapore will work with international partners on multi-national AI projects and contribute to global standards for AI-related policies and guidelines. 

Alongside the launch of the strategy, the National AI Office under the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office was established to set the national agenda for AI and catalyse efforts across research, industry, and government stakeholders to work on national AI priorities. AI Singapore, a national programme set up in May 2017 with an investment of up to S$150 million, will support the national AI strategy to catalyse, synergise and boost Singapore’s AI capabilities. 

AI as an enabler in the Digital Economy 

Singapore’s approach maximises AI’s unique strengths through building a strong, trusted and collaborative regulatory environment. The Model Framework complements other initiatives and programmes that Singapore previously launched – including an industry-led Advisory Council on the Ethical use of AI and Data, a Digital Services Laboratory to accelerate the deployment of AI technologies, a National Speech Corpus which enables AI speech solutions to work with Singapore’s lexicon, a Research Programme to explore ethical and legal implications of AI, and multi-pronged training courses to boost AI talent in Singapore. 

Data protection and innovation underpinning AI 

Singapore sees data-driven innovation as the means to power AI in a Digital Economy, providing competitive advantages for businesses that adopt them. The Personal Data Protection Commission has therefore announced that it is critical for organisations to move beyond data protection compliance to a culture of accountability. Singapore is reviewing its Personal Data Protection Act3 to strengthen consumer trust and provide greater clarity for organisations to use data for innovation. 

The PDPA came into effect in Singapore in 2014 and is Singapore’s baseline law for personal data protection. 

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