Developing indigenous capabilities for AI Foundation Models (PQ Reply by SMS Janil Puthucheary)
Plans to develop indigenous capabilities for AI Foundation Models (FMs)
Fourteenth Parliament of Singapore – Second Session for the Sitting on 7 November 2023
Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Prime Minister (a) whether there exists a whole-of-Government plan to develop indigenous capabilities in creating and deploying artificial intelligence (AI) foundation models, including establishing a National Foundation Model Research Institute, so as to help local researchers build core AI foundation model expertise; and (b) if such an AI foundation model plan already exists, what are its core and strategic aims.
Oral reply by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of GovTech (for the Prime Minister)
Mr Speaker, Singapore’s research capabilities in AI are well-regarded. We generally rank among the top 10 countries based on publications at leading AI conferences, across areas such as natural language processing and computer vision. We also have an active AI industry research scene, with industry R&D centres by companies such as Salesforce, SAP, and Alibaba. As such, Singapore has a strong base of AI researchers who are already working on various aspects of foundation models (FMs), such as helping FMs better understand visual and audio inputs, evaluating the performance of FMs, and developing FMs that are more suited for regional use cases.
It is not usually necessary or beneficial to rely solely on indigenous capabilities to advance our economic interests. For example, Singapore has built up thriving aerospace manufacturing and aviation services without developing or owning aircraft technologies. That said, we recognise the value of investing in research capabilities to support talent development and enterprise innovation. We have a vibrant research ecosystem for AI and will continue to support useful endeavours including various aspects of FMs.