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MCI, DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud launch AI Trailblazers

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), and Google Cloud have launched the AI Trailblazers Initiative in Singapore.

The joint initiative is designed to help organisations in Singapore identify real-world challenges that can be addressed with generative AI, build generative AI solution prototypes, and bring these prototypes to production. 

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch event for this initiative, hosted at the Google Asia Pacific campus. 

At the event, Minister Teo delivered opening remarks, viewed demos of generative AI solutions developed by startup and public sector teams, and interacted with the first cohort of AI Trailblazers workshop participants. 

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 maximise opportunities arising from Singapore and the region. 

Under the AI Trailblazers initiative, two Innovation Sandboxes have been established to provide up to 100 organisations 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. They will be available 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, organisations can build and test their 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, issued by DISG, is dedicated for use by Singapore-based companies. 

To deepen their in-house AI capabilities and competencies, organisations 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 organisations' 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 organisations 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 recognised at the AI Trailblazers Awards ceremony organised by MCI, DISG, and SNDGO toward the end of the year. 

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

Organisations 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 talent pipeline for the future AI economy, accelerating the development of home-grown AI startups and rooting Singapore's AI progress in responsible AI.

Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), says: "Generative AI is a transformative and yet accessible technology that presents a tremendous opportunity to boost our digital economy."

"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." 

Mr Karan Bajwa, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Google Cloud, says: "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."

"With AI Trailblazers, we're orchestrating a clear pathway for organisations 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," says Bajwa.

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