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IMDA partners with tech giants to form alliance to tackle AI-related issues

IMDA partners with tech giants to form alliance to tackle AI-related issues

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Major AI players such as Google and Microsoft have joined hands with the Singapore government to tackle issues presented by artificial intelligence (AI), which include the likes of copyright and biases.

At the ATxAI conference, a part of the Asia Tech x Singapore summit, Singaporean minister for communications and information, Josephine Teo announced the launch of the AI Verify Foundation to harness the collective power and contributions of the global open-source community to develop AI testing tools for the responsible use of AI. Additionally, the foundation also aims to address the many risks of rapidly developing AI.

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Seven pioneering premier members - the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Aicadium (Temasek's AI Centre of Excellence), IBM, Microsoft, Google, Red Hat and Salesforce will guide the strategic directions and development of AI Verify roadmap.

For a start, the foundation will have over 60 general members such as Adobe, DBS, Meta, SenseTime and Singapore Airlines.

The foundation’s aim is to boost AI testing capabilities and assurance to meet the needs of companies and regulators globally, as stated by IMDA in a release.

Members of the foundation will contribute to a software toolkit developed by IMDA that analyses datasets and AI code to check for bias, transparency and AI-related issues. The toolkit also provides an integrated interface to generate testing reports that cover different governance principles for an AI system. It enables companies to be more transparent about their AI by sharing these reports with their stakeholders. 

Launched as a minimum viable product for international pilot last year, AI Verify has attracted the interest of over 50 local and multinational companies including IBM, Dell, Hitachi and UBS. 

Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs, said in her opening speech that the industry needs to actively steer AI towards beneficial uses and away from malicious ones.

“This is core to how Singapore thinks about AI. In doing so, we hope to make Singapore an outstanding place for talent, ideas and experimentation,” she said in her speech.

She also went on to give examples of how AI can be used in public service, making it easier for the government to process feedback from citizens as well as prepare Singapore for an ageing population by improving clinical diagnosis and patient well-being.

When it comes to phishing and scams, Teo noted that not appointing AI will diminish law enforcement agents’ capacity to focus on scam prevention or recovering the assets of victims. “A strong desire for AI safety need not mean pulling the drawbridge to innovation and adoption,” she said, while providing the caveat that measures need to be put in place for the responsible use of AI.

The need for government intervention was made apparent when the CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, took the stand this in May to speak directly to US lawmakers about the risks artificial intelligence (AI) poses and why heavier regulations are needed amidst ethical, legal and national security concerns.

Speaking to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Altman, the man behind ChatGPT, noted that AI systems have become incredibly powerful. However, as they advance, more people are getting anxious about the way it could change the way we live. To mitigate the risks, Altman proposed forming a US-based or global agency or committee that would be able to license these AI systems and to ensure compliance with safety standards as well as have the authority to revoke licenses. 

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