Singapore, South Korea sign MoU on artificial intelligence

Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo and South Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-ho signing the MoU in Seoul on Dec 6. - MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND ICT, SOUTH KOREA

SEOUL (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Singapore and South Korea are set to collaborate closely on artificial intelligence (AI) and promote the responsible use of the emerging technology, in a move that will deepen the two countries’ digital partnership.

This was sealed in an artificial intelligence memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo and South Korean Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho in Seoul on Tuesday (Dec 6).

Teo, who is visiting Seoul, said that the two countries share many similarities in their AI strategies.

Both, she said, take a practical approach to ensure that AI is deployed for the benefit of people in areas such as healthcare and education.

“Both countries also have a strong focus on AI governance, ensuring that the AI systems we use are trustworthy and human centric”, she added in a speech before the MOU signing.

“The MOU will be a new milestone in our digital partnership and will allow us to exchange AI technologies and experiences in promoting the responsible use of AI.”

The two sides have identified three areas of collaboration, said Teo.

First, they will offer joint research grants to allow experts from both countries to work together, starting with the use of AI to make buildings more sustainable and energy efficient. This will “bring our research ecosystems closer”, she added.

Next, they will try to align their AI policies and governance so as to facilitate the “deployment of trustworthy AI across both countries and potentially reduce costs of implementation for companies”.

Finally, they will share the best practices in regulating and deploying healthcare AI solutions.

“Collaborations are critical to drive innovation at the frontier of AI,” she said.

“We are glad to be able to work with South Korea, a like-minded partner with strong research capabilities, industry academia partnerships, and AI talent.”

The two countries have already established a strong partnership in cyberspace, having signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement on Nov 21.

Lee welcomed the new MOU, noting that AI and big data technology have “become indispensable in overcoming various social issues and limitations that we are facing, in areas such as climate change, ageing society and health pandemics”.

In his opening remarks, he said the partnership will allow Singapore’s officials and experts to interact with their South Korean counterparts, as well as with leading South Korean tech firms.

“Artificial intelligence is an innovative technology field with tremendous potential to expand indefinitely and bring significant changes to our life,” he added.

The two ministers held a separate bilateral meeting, discussing their digital strategies and AI policy direction, and sharing ideas on emerging new digital technologies such as the metaverse and 6G mobile technology.

Lee also asked Teo to support South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in the southern port city of Busan.

While in Seoul over three days starting from Monday, Teo visited major Korean tech giants like Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom and Internet firm Naver to learn about their latest innovations.

She also visited the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital to find out how it was using AI and other technologies to improve patient care and staff productivity, and discussed how the hospital can work together with Singapore counterparts.

“I have observed Korea’s advancements in AI, the vibrant public-private partnership, and Korea’s commitment towards the development and deployment of AI use cases,” she said.

“I look forward to our growing partnership, as we work together to harness the potential of AI and bring its benefits to our people.”

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Singapore , South Korea , investment


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