Heng Chee How on how SAF’s DIS and AI Singapore grasp digital opportunities and handle cyber threats  

16/05/2023

ChatGPT is the in-thing these days. Since its November 2022 launch this bot has let users quickly generate coherent short stories, understand basic quantum physics, create speeches and errr… steal data. 

In other words, ChatGPT and other AI technologies like it are an opportunity to grasp and a potential threat to handle.  

Many PAP MPs have raised their concerns in the past months as AI has the potential to infiltrate every aspect of our lives.  

“And what it can do — the list grows by the day,” said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How of AI in general this past Saturday at the Inaugural AI Student Developer Conference (May 13). 

“Together with and indeed as a result of this, the need to govern AI’s development and use from an ethical, safety, and the security standpoint, has also come to the forefront.” 

The Government is watching this closely, stepping up even more preparations for this steady march of machine learning, and leveraging its capabilities to serve our people. 

The national AI Singapore (AISG) programme is actively growing Singapore’s AI ecosystem and now has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS)

This MOU is another way the SAF is sharpening its digital cutting edge and keeping Singaporeans safe. 

AISG: Partnerships and student outreach  

AISG brings together all Singapore-based research institutions and the vibrant ecosystem of AI start-ups and companies to power our country’s AI growth. Its LearnAI and AI Student Outreach Programme ensure new crops of AI talents. 

Source: MINDEF/ Facebook 

“The AI Student Outreach Programme has already enrolled more than 3,600 student participants and has formed many Student User Groups spanning all levels of education from secondary schools upwards,” detailed SMS Heng.  

It also facilitates paid internships which let these students use AI for real industry situations.  

The DIS – as SAF’s fourth service after the Army, Navy and Air Force – was launched in October 2022 to safeguard our nation’s new digital frontiers and tackle digital threats. 

Source: The Digital and Intelligence Service/ Facebook 

The AISG-DIS MOU, then, not only sharpens the SAF’s edge — it augments the SAF’s sustaining and developing a strong, capable workforce. 

“Specifically, this MOU between AISG and the DIS will see enhanced collaboration in talent identification, professional upskilling, data strategy and AI development,” detailed SMS Heng. 

The new frontier of AI is frankly boundless, and the Government does not want Singaporeans to lag behind while the rest of the world explores it.  

So: The MOU ensures that we develop talents for the future economy — and that these talents can stand shoulder-to-shoulder to protect Singaporeans from harm.