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Establishing Singapore as a global leader for AI and Data use

The Centre For AI & Data Governance will promote beneficial AI and interrogate and respond to emerging social issues arising from AI and Data Use.

The Centre will become a leading player in the global development of AI Governance, leveraging existing SMU assets and building further and deeper intellectual capacity through the recruitment of emergent talent to and within SMU (and across Singapore and the broader region), as well as through the assemblage of and collaboration with a hand-selected team of international, world-renowned co-investigators and advisors.

A primary aim of the Centre is to develop legal frameworks that thoughtfully enable AI as an economic driver and ensures its beneficial uses. Of course, the Centre will also devote significant resources and effort to resolving—in some cases preventing—the unintended consequences and social harms that these emerging technologies are likely to generate. We will develop cutting edge legal and ethical research that will form the basis for various governmental (and non-governmental) frameworks and best practices in AI and data policy and regulation. Through various forms of research dissemination and stakeholder engagement described below, the Centre will establish Singapore as a leader on the global stage and an exporter of sound policy and good governance for AI and Data use.


To be a leading player in the global development of AI and Data Governance


Develop cutting-edge legal, ethical and regulatory research for various governmental (and non-governmental) frameworks in AI and data use

Why a Centre for AI & Data Governance?

AI and Data is Everywhere

With increasingly powerful artificial intelligence (AI) in the driver’s seat, machines can sense, think and act. Google’s autonomous cars have logged more than two million miles, so far causing only a single accident (no fatalities), promising enhanced mobility for the elderly or disabled and significantly reducing accidents, congestion, and fuel consumption. Exploration rovers powered by AI traverse hostile terrains and go where humans cannot, moving dangerous objects and transmitting mission critical data. Increasingly autonomous drones are redefining the nature of warfare and may soon transform public and private sector approaches to domestic surveillance. AI medical diagnostics have started to outstrip their human counterparts and robotic surgery has demonstrated significantly improved outcomes, performing 85% of certain surgeries in the US and providing therapy to autistic children.

AI Affects Society

AI can have unintended effects on society. There is a substantial risk that powerful AIs designed to carry out particular tasks will be used for unintended purposes, resulting in unforeseen behavior and potential danger. But cataclysmic harm is only one possible effect of the deep dependences created in a AI-driven society. Inviting robots and AIs into our skies, cities, workplaces, homes and families could cause profound social and economic shifts. It will increase surveillance in places we consider private.

AI Impacts Industry

AI fundamentally challenges our liability and accountability systems in many industries relevant to Singapore. It alters the role of human workers in a variety of sectors, beyond expected job losses. With litigation looming, consider the dilemma that doctors will face when their best intuitions are at odds with diagnoses generated by statistically superior machine learning systems. Relinquishing the wheel to driverless vehicles or the “fire” command to autonomous weapons whose operational “decisions” we can neither predict nor fully appreciate likewise leaves those humans-still-in-the loop ill-prepared to reassume control should the AIs malfunction.

AI Changes Commercialization

The importance of AI, with its potential contributions and threats, looms large as AI is rapidly becoming a ubiquitous part of many key industries. AI challenge the existing norms of intellectual property and commercialization. There are many areas of interest where the influence of AI and big data are not only challenging the boundaries of but are suggesting the reconsideration of property relationships. In art, music, literature, gaming, journalism and anywhere that IP rights, protections and prohibitions have conventionally been recognized, AI is starting to push the boundaries.

Last updated on 15 Feb 2019 .