Singapore Launches Sandboxes for Generative AI Development
Singapore has introduced two sandboxes for government agencies and local businesses to develop and test generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications. These sandboxes will run on Google Cloud’s generative AI toolsets, including its Vertex AI platform, low-code developer tools, and graphical processing units (GPUs). The sandboxes will provide access to pre-trained generative AI models, including Google’s large language model Palm, partner AI models, and open source options.
This initiative is part of a partnership agreement between Google Cloud and the Singapore government to establish an AI Government Cloud Cluster. The aim is to drive AI adoption in the public sector. One sandbox will be exclusively used by government agencies, while the other is open to local organizations. Both sandboxes will be provided at no cost for three months, for up to 100 use cases or organizations.
To select participants, a series of workshops will be held over 100 days, during which Google Cloud engineers will provide training to identify use cases that can be supported with generative AI. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) will administer the government sandbox, while Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) will manage the sandbox for local businesses.
Singapore has been actively pursuing AI development since introducing its national AI strategy in 2019. The country currently has over 4,000 researchers publishing on AI, according to Josephine Teo, minister for communications and information. However, Teo noted that there is still work to be done in translating this research into meaningful use cases across different industries.
Data security and governance are crucial considerations when deploying generative AI within organizations. AI models used to train enterprise applications must ensure the protection of sensitive information. Additionally, the models need to be calibrated and fine-tuned for specific industries, such as healthcare or financial services.
The sandboxes provide a clear pathway for companies to build their own generative AI applications with data security and governance in mind. Participating organizations include the Ministry of Manpower, Government Technology Agency (GovTech), American Express, PropertyGuru Group, and Tokopedia.
GovTech, the public sector’s CIO office, is already leveraging generative AI for its virtual intelligence chat assistant (Vica) platform. The agency plans to move all 88 chatbots used within the sector to generative AI models by the end of the year. Generative AI has significantly reduced the time needed to train the models and has improved the naturalness of responses.
DBS Bank’s CIO and head of group technology and operations, Jimmy Ng, emphasized the importance of training AI models to address risks such as hallucinations. Large language models learn from publicly available data, which may not always be of high quality. Businesses should take an active approach in improving the training data to enhance the quality of AI applications.
The introduction of these sandboxes in Singapore demonstrates the country’s commitment to advancing AI development and adoption. By providing a dedicated environment for generative AI development, the sandboxes offer a valuable opportunity for government agencies and local businesses to explore the potential of AI applications in a secure and controlled manner.