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20,000 Singapore civil servants to be trained in data analytics by 2023

By 2023, the Singapore government aims to have all its public officers equipped with basic digital literacy. This will see 20,000 public officers being trained in data analytics and data science, up from 10,000 it announced previously according to multiple media reports.

Meanwhile, to further strengthen integration between policy, operations and technology, chief digital strategy officers have also been appointed to lead and implement digitalisation plans within their ministries and respective agencies. These chief digital strategy officers will be paired with chief information officers, who will support them from a technical perspective, according to the recently released Digital Government Blueprint (DGB).

At the middle management and working levels, the Singapore government also looks to help policy and operations officers understand the opportunities which technologies may offer. This includes exposure to technology officers to the government’s business needs in a bid to design effective solutions.

Beyond data science training, the government will also develop a basic ICT competency framework for public service officers, with an accompanying training plan. This will also include specific ICT competencies tied to certain job functions. For AI, data and data analytics, the government plans to have 10 cross-agency projects per year, and two projects per ministry family per year. In additional the government aims to have 30 to 50 transformative digital projects, by 2023, the blueprint added.

New advisory council established to lead discussions on ethical use of AI and data

Meanwhile, the government has also established an advisory council on the ethical use of AI and data. The council will consist of representatives from technology companies, users of AI, and those who can provide consumers’ and societal perspectives.

According to S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information (MCI), the council will also work closely with key stakeholder groups to lead discussions and provide guidance to the government on the responsible development and deployment of AI.

This includes engaging relevant stakeholders such as ethics boards of commercial enterprises on ethical and related issues arising from private sector use of AI and data. The council will also engage consumer advocates on consumer expectations of such use. In addition, the council will engage the private capital community to increase awareness of the need to incorporate ethics considerations in their decisions to invest in businesses which develop or adopt AI. The advisory council will also assist the government in developing ethics standards and reference governance frameworks, issue advisory guidelines, practical guidance and codes of practice for voluntary adoption by businesses.

Former attorney-general, V.K. Rajah SC, will serve as the council’s inaugural chairman and more details on the council will be revealed at a later date.

(Read also: Singapore government to debut Digital Readiness Blueprint for citizens)

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