Singapore will launch a series of artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives to drive the adoption of frontier technologies for the desired economic impetus, the city-state's communications minister said on Friday.
"At first glance, AI may sound high-brow or obscure to most companies. This is not the case. AI is already present in our daily lives, and companies both big and small can leverage existing AI solutions to improve your business offering," Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim was speaking at Infocomm Media Development Authority's (IMDA) one-year anniversary celebration.
The focus areas in Singapore's newly-launched infocomm and media (ICM) industry transformation map are AI, cyber security, immersive media and the internet of things (IoT) – areas that are expected to grow the sector by a compound annual rate of 6 percent and employ more than 210,000 people by 2020, Ibrahim said.
Singapore is betting big on AI technology as it looks to grab a slice of the global pie that is forecasted to reach over US$5 billion by 2020, from just US$420 million in 2014, according to research and consulting firm MarketsandMarkets.
The forecasted growth will be driven by rising adoption of AI in the media and advertising, healthcare, retail and finance sectors, the research showed.
To ensure Singapore has the talent it needs to drive AI adoption, the IMDA will be targeting 200 apprentices to be trained over the next 3 years, Ibrahim said.
The AI apprenticeship programme will equip professionals with key AI skills, such as in machine and deep learning, and in deploying AI.
To groom selected Singapore technology companies, the IMDA is also partnering Microsoft, IBM and Samsung to augment made-in-Singapore tech products and services with capabilities such as AI and machine learning, among other goals.