Salesforce, the global cloud-based software company, recently launched the Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index, which evaluates the quality and strength of AI frameworks and ecosystems in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Specifically, the Index examines AI readiness across the spheres of consumer, business and government, and provides practical recommendations to improve AI adoption in these three areas.
The report sets out the potential benefits and challenges of AI, and through qualitative research and quantitative modeling, assesses the ability of consumers, businesses, and governments to adopt, deploy, and support AI technologies.
Some key findings of the report include:
• Singapore leads the region in overall AI readiness followed by Hong Kong and India
• Singapore also takes the lead in terms of business and government readiness
• Thailand takes the lead in terms of consumer readiness, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore
• AI adoption remains fragmented and uneven across the region
• Trust and accountability are key to wider AI adoption, and Governments must drive AI readiness
Singapore ranks highest in the Index due to it having one of the regions most progressive and conducive approaches to AI. From data protection laws to nationwide cybersecurity strategies, Singapore’s institutions have built strong regulatory foundations to maximize the impact of digital technologies on the economy.
Sassoon Grigorian, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, at Salesforce, commented on the report and made the following recommendations related to Singapore:
1. Strengthen AI-specific data protection policies:
The Singapore government must demonstrate its hardline stance on the misuse or misappropriation of private information. Strengthening both data protection and business certainty in a fast-evolving technological environment is the road to a solid foundation for countering data breaches, ensuring public trust and the continued development of AI.
2. Build a regional hub for AI research centers:
Singapore has been successful in attracting businesses to set up regional headquarters that service the rest of the region. A similar approach must be adopted to ensure AI businesses create and grow local AI research centers. This will not only give Singapore a strong foothold in the regional AI value chain, it will give it further the region’s ability to develop a local AI talent pool.
3. Strengthen skills upgrading initiatives to build a homegrown pool of versatile AI talent:
AI Singapore has launched two initiatives – AI for Industry (AI4I) and AI for Everyone (AI4E) – to equip 12,000 Singaporeans over the next three years. This is a great start, but more needs to be done for Singapore to become a regional AI hub. Whether it is introducing coding at an early age or encouraging computational thinking, making AI a part of the education system can both bridge the local AI talent gap and quell future workers’ fears of the impact of AI on their jobs.
4. Incentivize creativity and innovation to foster a dynamic AI ecosystem:
Innovative capabilities are becoming core business skills. From tech start-ups to multinational corporations, businesses are looking beyond employees’ technical skills to remain competitive. The ability to think critically and solve problems creatively are highly sought-after competences that Singapore cannot afford to neglect. Apart from fostering such aptitudes in educational institutions, Singapore can incentivize out-of-the-box thinking in the workplace by making it one of many KPIs for career progression.