Singapore sets up AI governance initiative to build consumer trust

Singapore has introduced a set of new initiatives on AI governance to enhance consumer trust in the recent international discourse on AI and governance. This comes as the nation sees AI as an important and fundamental technology for the Digital Economy, with AI-powered products offering a level of personalised service at scale that was previously unimaginable.

In the global discourse on AI ethics and governance issue, Singapore believes that its balanced approach can facilitate innovation, safeguard consumer interests, and serve as a common global reference point. Therefore, Singapore announced today a set of new initiatives on AI governance to enhance consumer trust, namely:

a. An implementation and self-assessment guide for organisations (ISAGO)

b. A compendium of use cases; and

c. The second edition of the model AI governance framework.

According to the press release, the framework has been adopted by over fifteen organisations of all sizes internationally – from financial giants such as DBS, HSBC, Mastercard and Visa, fintech firms such as Suade Labs, to technology firms such as pymetrics, UCARE.AI and a school, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The  ISAGO was also developed in close consultation with the industry, following contributions from over 60 organisations - such as DataRobot, DBS Bank, Google, KPMG, Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce, Suade Labs and Visa.

The second edition of the model AI governance framework refines the original model framework. For instance, the section on customer relationship management has been expanded to include considerations on interactions and communications with a broader network of stakeholders.

The initiatives are key components of Singapore’s National AI Strategy to encourage innovation and build public trust in AI.

V K Rajah SC, chairman of Singapore’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data said, “As AI becomes more pervasive, it is important to build a trusted environment for its use through a multi-stakeholder effort involving public, private and people sectors."

She added that Singapore has taken a "huge step"  by leading the way in building and sustaining a trusted AI environment.

Butterfield added, “There are many challenges with the deployment of AI in companies. The framework should be considered an essential tool in the governance work which we need to do to ensure that companies use the benefits of AI wisely for their stakeholders and society.”

Digital tech in trade and commerce

Meanwhile, the Singapore Government has also inked partnerships with major firms from key industries to facilitate and accelerate adoption of digital technologies in trade and commerce. The global industry leaders participating in the agreement are APRIL, DBS Bank, Marubeni Corporation, Mastercard, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co., Mizuho Bank, Ltd., MUFG Bank, Noble, NTT DATA, PSA International, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Tokio Marine, and Trafigura.

This public-private partnership between global organisations “will be a significant leap forward to shift international trade from a paper-based system to digitally-enabled trade,” said a release on IMDA. It is set to create enormous potential value based on time and operational cost savings combined with the greatly reduced incidence of fraud and human error.

As one of the largest global trading hubs, Singapore is capitalising on its strong networks to bring together an efficient and unified process of digitalised trade. The country is partnering various international organisations, governments and industry players on the development of TradeTrust - a multilateral, open legal and technical framework, that enables inter-operability across different trade platforms and formats for the exchange of digital trade documents on a public blockchain. This strategic initiative is led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) with the Maritime Port Authority (MPA), and supported by partner agency, Enterprise Singapore.