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Singapore’s AI Model Governance Framework see organisations follow suit
January 22, 2020 News


Singapore sees Artificial Intelligence (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.

According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), 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.

In light of this, Singapore announced a set of new initiatives on AI governance to enhance consumer trust, namely an Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations (ISAGO), a Compendium of Use Cases; and the second edition of the Model AI Governance Framework.

These initiatives follow Singapore’s launch of the Model AI Governance Framework in Davos in 2019, as well as the announcement of Singapore’s National AI Strategy in November 2019, and demonstrate the progress made in supporting organisations in deploying responsible AI.

The new initiatives were announced by Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, and Ms Kay Firth-Butterfield, AI Portfolio Lead at the World Economic Forum, at a joint press conference with the WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

“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. Singapore took a huge step today by leading the way in building and sustaining a trusted AI environment. It is encouraging that the collaboration between Singapore and WEF C4IR has borne fruit through the ISAGO, and I encourage organisations to use the guides. The Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data is proud to be part of this journey and will continue to support such efforts in creating an enabling environment for our businesses and citizens,” said Mr V K Rajah SC, Chairman of Singapore’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data.

Ms Kay Firth-Butterfield, AI Portfolio Head at the World Economic Forum, also said, “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 us the benefits of AI wisely for their stakeholders and society.”


Implementation and Self-Assessment Guide for Organisations

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority and the WEF C4IR announced a collaboration in 2019 to grow discourse on and further AI and data innovation. The result of this collaboration is the newly co-developed ISAGO.

Intended as a companion guide to the Model Framework, ISAGO aims to help organisations assess the alignment of their AI governance practices with the Model Framework. It also provides an extensive list of useful industry examples and practices to help organisations implement the Model Framework. The guide was developed in close consultation with the industry, with contributions from over 60 organisations – such as DataRobot, DBS Bank, Google, KPMG, Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce, Suade Labs and Visa.


Compendium of Use Cases

To complement the Model Framework and ISAGO, IMDA has also released a Compendium of Use Cases that demonstrates how local and international organisations across different sectors and sizes implemented or aligned their AI governance practices with all sections of the Model Framework. The Compendium also illustrates how the featured organisations have effectively put in place accountable AI governance practices and benefitted from the use of AI in their line of business.

Among the organisations featured in the Compendium include DBS Bank for the use of AI in anti-money laundering detection, Ngee Ann Polytechnic for the use of AI in review students’ applications for discretionary admission and UCARE.AI for medical bill forecasting. Other organisations include HSBC, Visa, Omada Health, MSD and Callsign.

DBS Bank Group Head of Legal, Compliance and Secretariat Mr Lam Chee Kin said, “Singapore’s Model AI framework is a remarkable initiative that has helped DBS develop and refine its view on how to govern AI. By using the thinking contemplated in the framework, we can identify tough questions around ethics and supervision of AI, and from the answers we can build better processes. Handling data and AI well is a continuous journey, but we believe the effort is necessary to maintain customer trust and stakeholder accountability – which every business needs in order to secure its future.”


Second Edition of Model Framework

To keep pace with AI’s rapid development, Singapore has consulted organisations using AI in Singapore and abroad on how to further strengthen the Model Framework and its four areas.

The second edition includes additional considerations (such as robustness and reproducibility) and refines the original Model Framework for greater relevance and usability. 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 second edition of the Model Framework continues to take a sector- and technology-agnostic approach that can complement sector-specific requirements and guidelines.

Singapore aims to advance its vision to be a leading Digital Economy and Smart Nation, continually embracing digital transformation and reinventing itself to remain globally competitive. The initiatives are key components of Singapore’s National AI Strategy to encourage innovation and build public trust in AI.

Grab is one of the organisation featured in model framework which uses human involvement in AI-augmented decision making.

Grab’s Chief Technology Officer for Mobility and Core Technology Mr Mark Porter said, “As an AI everywhere organisation, Grab is leveraging the technology to elevate the quality of life for some 650 million individuals who live in Southeast Asia. We strongly believe that AI adoption and development must be supported with a sound governance framework so that it can contribute to building a future that is smarter, safer and more inclusive. Grab welcomes the introduction of new initiatives to guide organisations in Singapore to better harness AI in an efficient and responsible manner and sees the Model Framework as a valuable starting point for companies looking to adopt AI.”

Other organisations in the model framework include CUJO AI, Mastercard, Suade Labs, Symphony AyasdiAI, pymetrics, Facebook and MSD.