Singaporean government has partnered Google Cloud to launch “AI Trailblazers”, which is designed to help organizations in the country identify real-world challenges that can be addressed with generative artificial intelligence (AI), build generative AI solution prototypes, and bring these prototypes to production.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Google Cloud have announced the initiative.

This announcement builds on the strategic collaboration between MCI and Google Cloud and the launch of the AI Government Cloud Cluster (AGCC) by SNDGO and Google Cloud in May 2023.

It aims to advance Singapore’s position as an open and trusted global AI hub by accelerating the development and adoption of responsible and impactful AI solutions to maximize opportunities arising from Singapore and the region.

Under the AI Trailblazers initiative, two Innovation Sandboxes have been established to provide up to 100 organizations in Singapore with seamless access to Google Cloud’s high-performance graphical processing units (GPUs), Vertex AI platform, pre-trained generative AI models, and low-code developer tools, at no cost for a fixed duration of up to three months.

With access to these comprehensive, custom-built, and easy-to-use generative AI toolsets, organizations can build and test their own generative AI solutions in a controlled and dedicated cloud-based environment.

The first Innovation Sandbox, administered by SNDGO through the AGCC, is dedicated for use by government agencies in Singapore.

The second Innovation Sandbox, administered by DISG, is dedicated for use by Singapore-based companies.

To deepen their in-house AI capabilities and competencies, organizations participating in the AI Trailblazers initiative will be enrolled in a mandatory full-day workshop sponsored and conducted by DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud.

Participating organizations’ AI practitioners and developers will receive hands-on training by Google Cloud engineers to identify use cases that can be addressed using generative AI and build at least one generative AI solution prototype using toolsets from the Innovation Sandbox.

Participating organizations and their AI teams will also have the opportunity to continue collaborating with DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud to turn their prototype into a minimum viable product (MVP), and demonstrate their MVPs to a panel of technology experts from MCI, DISG, SNDGO, Google Cloud, as well as other potential government and commercial users in November and December 2023.

The panel will evaluate these MVPs based on design, usability, reliability, functionality, and propensity for real-world application.

High potential MVPs will be shortlisted as “Capstone Projects” and receive the opportunity to be showcased and recognized at the AI Trailblazers Awards ceremony organized by MCI, DISG, and SNDGO toward the end of the year.

From July 24 to September 30, 2023, DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud will run these workshops for up to eight cohorts of participating organizations, with the goal of identifying and addressing 100 generative AI use cases across government and industry within the next 100 days.

Organizations that will be participating in the AI Trailblazers initiative include the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Public Service Division (PSD), SNDGO, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), American Express, Mastercard, PropertyGuru Group, and Tokopedia.

The AI Trailblazers initiative falls under the first pillar of MCI and Google Cloud’s strategic collaboration: “supercharging AI adoption across public sector and industry.”

Further initiatives under the remaining three pillars of this collaboration will be announced in the coming months, including:

● Building a sustainable pipeline of talent for the future AI economy: MCI and Google Cloud have reaffirmed their commitment toward deepening individuals’ AI knowledge and competencies through skilling programmes targeted at various personas, such as students, career converts, developers, and data scientists.
This will enable more organisations in Singapore to acquire the expertise needed to develop and deploy scalable AI solutions.

● Accelerating the development of home-grown AI startups: DISG and Google Cloud are designing an accelerator program to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem of best-in-class Singapore-based AI startups.
Details of this program will be announced in the fourth quarter this year.

● Rooting Singapore’s AI progress in Responsible AI: Google is one of seven premier members of IMDA’s AI Verify Foundation, which was established to harness the collective expertise and contributions of the global open source community to develop AI Verify as a testing tool for the responsible use of AI.
Building on this, MCI and Google Cloud will explore further ways to operationalize Responsible AI principles.

“Generative AI is a transformative and yet accessible technology which presents a tremendous opportunity to boost our digital economy,” said Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

According to her, the AI Trailblazers initiative will help Singapore-based companies experiment, uncover value, and create novel and meaningful generative AI solutions to deliver better products and services.

“We look forward to this partnership with Google Cloud, and the impactful applications created from this initiative,” she added.

Google Cloud Asia Pacific Vice President Karan Bajwa said that early movers in Singapore are already leveraging generative AI to better serve and engage with their stakeholders.

“However, to drive awareness and adoption of this technology— at a scale that transforms an economy and delivers high -impact outcomes for citizens—requires the programmatic and intentional approach that we’re proud to be undertaking in partnership with the Singapore government,” he said.

With AI Trailblazers, he said they are orchestrating a clear pathway for organizations to quickly, easily, and responsibly develop and deploy their own generative AI solutions with baked-in security and data governance.

“It is the first of a series of initiatives under our joint four-pronged strategy with MCI, as we look to establish a local AI ecosystem that fundamentally and sustainably positions Singapore as an open and trusted global AI hub,” he added.

Google Cloud and MCI collaborate to advance Singapore’s national AI strategy