Google on Tuesday announced multiple initiatives across skilling, artificial intelligence (AI) and sustainability as it deepens its commitment to Singapore after 15 years.

Google said in a statement that Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) and Google Cloud have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen AI cooperation in Singapore.

The MOU is led by Singapore’s National AI Office and is its first public-private AI partnership with a global technology company.

Under the MOU, 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 like finance, sustainability, and healthcare.

Google Cloud will also provide dedicated training resources and certification programs to cultivate deep AI and machine learning proficiency for identified public sector officers.

These programs reinforce Google Cloud’s commitment to bridging the AI talent gap, and will build on Google’s Skills Ignition SG training program in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

They will also complement Google Cloud’s contribution to the recent collaboration between AI Singapore (AISG) and Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) to give local students a headstart in pursuing STEM careers.

Google Cloud will also support the Singapore government’s efforts to shape AI governance and ethics in key sectors like finance.

These efforts 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.

Together, these efforts will help to manage new forms of risks that will emerge as AI becomes more pervasive.

“AI is becoming an everyday reality, with the potential to empower inclusive finance, accelerate genomic analysis to better understand and treat diseases, and optimise supply chains to reduce their environmental impact. But at the same time, there’s an urgent need for skilled talent with competencies in AI to further develop and implement the technology at scale,

“By partnering with SNDGG’s National AI Office to cultivate deep AI proficiency in public service and spearheading programs like Skills Ignition SG to help Singaporeans keep pace with the labour market’s evolving demands, Google remains committed to strengthening Singapore’s social compact and ensuring that all can partake in and benefit from the fast-growing digital economy,” said Sherie Ng, Country Director, Singapore and Malaysia, Google Cloud.

Meanwhile, to keep young users safe online, Google will be partnering with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Media Literacy Council, in support of the Digital for Life movement, to train 50,000 parents and children on online safety in the next 12 months.

This will include sharing Be Internet Awesome (BIA) internet safety resources with educators and bringing the Google Online Safety Park to selected schools including CHIJ Katong and West Grove Primary to provide an interactive learning experience, with the aim of nurturing confident navigators of the online world.

By growing a body of online safety advocates, Google hopes even more parents and children will be equipped with online safety know-how.

“Singapore is one of the most highly connected cities in the world. Yet, we are acutely aware that bad actors can threaten the safety of the digital world. At Google, we recognise the responsibility to keep people safe online through our products and tools. We also know that it is crucial to equip Singaporeans with the knowledge and confidence to approach technology safely and securely – starting with the most vulnerable,

“We hope through initiatives like Google’s Online Safety Park and by working closely with deeply committed partners to build digital literacy within the community, we can build a safer, more inclusive digital future for all Singaporeans,” said Ben King, Managing Director of Google Singapore.

Meanwhile, Google’s philanthropic arm will provide $1 million grant funding to Mandai Nature, which was established by Temasek and Mandai Wildlife Group. This is the first sustainability-focused grant through in Singapore.

“When tackling the climate crisis, we at Google recognise that our impact can be far greater when we come together with nonprofits, governments and businesses in the shared responsibility to find sustainability solutions,

“To this point, we are incredibly proud to support Mandai Nature through our philanthropic arm,, as they continue supporting dedicated nonprofits to develop promising technology-based solutions that will contribute to building a more sustainable future for all,” said King.

With this funding, Mandai Nature will support the Southeast Asia Climate and Nature-based Solutions (SCeNe) Coalition comprising eight globally recognised environmental and conservation non-profit organisations that aims to accelerate investment into climate solutions that benefit nature and people, in Southeast Asia.

Over the next 1.5 years, the coalition will use the funding in three areas:

1) Develop an open-source web-based mapping tool to identify geographies in Southeast Asia that hold the key to carbon reduction, host rich biodiversity, and are home to local communities. Google employees will also volunteer their time to share their expertise with the Coalition to build the initial stages of the tool.

2) Share information from ongoing projects to demonstrate and promote best practice in design, implementation, and monitoring of Nature-based Solutions. These learnings will be published in a report to provide guidance and recommendations to accelerate the implementation of and investment in high-quality nature-based solutions in the region.

3) Aims to communicate widely about and raise investment for at least three Nature-based Solutions projects in Southeast Asia that deliver benefits to climate, nature and people.

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