Generative AI innovation sandboxes roll out in Singapore

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), and Google Cloud launched “AI Trailblazers,” a joint initiative 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. 

This initiative builds on the strategic partnership between MCI and Google Cloud and the launch of the AI Government Cloud Cluster (AGCC) by SNDGO and Google Cloud in May 2023. 

AI Trailblazers 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, 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 own 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, administered 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. 

Also, participating organisations and their AI teams will 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. 

Until 30 September 2023, DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud will run these workshops for up to eight cohorts of participating organisations, with the goal of identifying and addressing 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. 

Karan Bajwa, Google Cloud VP in  Asia Pacific, said that 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,” he said.