Being a Singaporean and in the space of Artificial Intelligence, I thought of sharing how Singapore can stake a good position on AI, a tech that countries cannot ignore and need to have good talents to realize it.

For AI to realize its value, there are a few components:

1) Data

2) Hardware & Software

3) Algorithms

For Data, I doubt Singapore can out-compete China given its population size and relatively lax data protection policy. So Singapore definitely cannot compete in the data realm.

For hardware and software, they require engineering skills, innovation and creativity. For this Singapore cannot compete with United States, India, etc. Singapore lost a generation of computer scientist and engineers during the 90s when IT is seen as a department suitable for outsourcing. This lost generation created a gap of knowledge that we now depends on overseas talent to transfer over to our local workforce. This will definitely take some time, assuming that the transfer is enabled and happens.

Thus comes the part where I feel Singapore can compete well and that is Algorithms. Our STEM education is one of the best in the world. Singapore students get top ratings in TIMSS and PISA. Latest news (as of writing) is here and here.

Moreover, if you see other technology such as cybersecurity, another important technology, it is algorithms driven.

If we do decide to focus on researching and developing algorithm research, to support the commercialisation, we may have to think about licensing and how to protect the intellectual property.

Short post about my thoughts on what Singapore can focus on to have a good standing in the AI Industry. Will be keen to hear the thoughts from others. :)

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