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SMU Leverages Multi-disciplinary Expertise, Launches Centre for AI and Data Governance

 

Singapore, 24 September 2018 (Monday) – As Singapore develops its digital economy, a trusted ecosystem is key, where industries can benefit from innovations in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), while consumer confidence and understanding can be assured. The Minister for Communications and Information Mr S Iswaran announced the establishment of an Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data (Advisory Council) in June 2018, to encourage the industry adoption of AI and the roll out of products and services using AI in an accountable and responsible manner.
To support the work of the Advisory Council and promote thought leadership in the area, SMU today officially launched a new Centre for AI and Data Governance. The setting up of the new Centre has been made possible by a major grant of $4.5 million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to the SMU School of Law in June 2018, following a competitive application process among several Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore.
The launch event held at SMU was graced by Guest-of-Honour Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry of Communications and Information. Dr Puthucheary participated in a panel discussion on the ethical, governance and consumer protection implications for the commercial deployment of AI. The other panellists were Dr Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and Ms Malavika Jayaram, Executive Director of Digital Asia Hub. The panel was moderated by IMDA Assistant Chief Executive Mr Yeong Zee Kin.
Helming the new Centre as its initial Director is Associate Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of the SMU School of Law. With an aim to promote cutting-edge thinking and practices in AI, and data policies and regulations, the new Centre, which is housed within the School of Law, will enable Singapore to drive thought leadership on these issues and serve as a centre for knowledge exchange with experts worldwide. It will also adopt a global perspective and track international developments in its research areas.
An Expert Panel has also been established, comprising distinguished experts from academic as well as the technology industry and legal professions, who will provide international know-how and connections. Prominent research centres and institutional partners around the world have also committed to working with the Centre. (Please see Annex 1 for details.)
The Centre will undertake research projects under three integrated streams – AI and Society, AI and Industry, and AI and Commercialisation – that will help build bridges between academy, industry and government. Leveraging multi-disciplinary faculty expertise across SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Information Systems and School of Social Sciences, it will embark on eight research projects.

Future of Law Conference: "The Internet of Things, Smart Contracts and Intelligent Machine”

 

Singapore, 5 June 2018 (Tuesday) – The Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law has been awarded a major grant of S$4.5 million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Infocomm Media Development Agency (IMDA) to helm a five-year Research Programme on the Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Use. SMU School of Law will also set up a new research centre to undertake focused efforts on the Programme. The award follows a competitive application process that was open to all Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) in January 2018.
The award was announced today by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, at the Opening of innovfest unbound, the anchor event of Smart Nation Innovations Week. The grant call by NRF and IMDA was made with the aim of collaborating with an IHL to set up the aforementioned Programme, so as to achieve various strategic objectives, including to (i) promote cutting edge thinking and practices in AI and data policies and regulations; (ii) inform AI and data policy and regulation formulation in Singapore through research publications and stakeholder engagement events and activities; and (iii) establish Singapore as a global thought leader in AI and data policies and regulations.
Professor Steven Miller, SMU’s Vice Provost (Research), said, “SMU is delighted to have secured this research grant to support Singapore’s national needs as we advance Singapore’s digital economy through a focused effort on the governance of AI and data use. This award is the largest research grant that the SMU School of Law has received since its inception in 2007, and provides strong recognition of our School of Law’s research excellence and ability to be an important contributor in Singapore’s research and policy eco-system. This new programme is based upon a distinctive interdisciplinary approach that will involve other Schools within SMU, highlighting SMU’s strength in doing research at the intersections between disciplines.”
The Research Programme on the Governance of AI and Data Use that the SMU School of Law will undertake will comprise three integrated streams – AI and Society, AI and Industry, and AI and Commercialisation. The Programme will build critical interdisciplinary capacity in the area that will help build bridges between the academy, industry and government. It will be carried out by a new research centre to be housed in the SMU School of Law and formally launched later this year.
Associate Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of the SMU School of Law, who will provide leadership and oversight as a member of the Centre’s Executive Committee, said, “The Research Programme on the Governance of AI and Data Use, and the setting up of a dedicated research centre, are not only timely, but also necessary preconditions of Singapore’s successful digital future. We are grateful for the trust and confidence that the Government has placed in our law school and will ensure that the Programme achieves its aim of establishing Singapore as a global thought leader in AI and data policies and regulations. Through the careful integration of the three research streams of AI and Society, AI and Industry, and AI and Commercialisation, we will develop government- and industry-relevant strategies for the governance of AI and data use, thereby contributing to the development of Singapore’s digital economy.”
“More broadly, SMU School of Law is committed to producing research that has meaningful impact in the real world. This Programme is a cornerstone of our forward strategy of engaging in cutting-edge issues brought about by technology which affect the law and beyond. Ultimately, we hope that our research will inform our teaching, as we aim to future-proof our graduates with a forward-looking and innovative curriculum that integrates theory and practice in a period that is fast influenced by technology,” Associate Professor Goh added.
The Centre will establish an Expert Panel, which will comprise individuals from academia, as well as the technology industry and legal professions. It will also establish institutional partnerships in academia and industry, which will provide international connections and expertise. Prominent research centres that have committed to working with the Centre include the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University (and its Governance and Ethics of AI Initiative together with the MIT Media Lab); the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at the Queen Mary University of London; the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa; the Digital Asia Hub; and the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies at IDC Herzliya. The full list of members on the Centre’s Expert Panel, as well as its institutional partners, will be announced in due course.
The Centre will also engage actively with researchers in the field of AI and data use, and appoint visiting professors and fellows. The leading experts who have committed to working with the Centre include Professor Ian Kerr, Full Professor and Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law, and Technology at the University of Ottawa; Professor Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; Professor Chris Reed, Professor of Electronic Commerce Law at Queen Mary University of London; Assistant Professor Dov Greenbaum, Director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies; and Malavika Jayaram, the inaugural Executive Director of Digital Asia Hub. To start off the research programme, the Centre will, together with Digital Asia Hub, and in collaboration with Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society, jointly organise and co-host an event in September that will focus on the AI ethical and governance challenges from a policy perspective, and lay the ground for further collaboration among stakeholders.

Future of Law Conference:
"The Internet of Things, Smart Contracts and Intelligent Machine”

 

Over the course of two days in October 2017, SMU School of Law hosted the inaugural Future of Law Conference: "The Internet of Things, Smart Contracts and Intelligent Machine”. The conference was co-organised by Osborne Clarke and our Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia. The Future of Law Conference brought together the leading thinkers in academia and practice in the field of information technology law to discuss the legal and regulatory implications of recent technological developments. The 2-day conference focused on a diverse range of cutting-edge issues, including the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain technologies, machine learning, AI, privacy, autonomous and connected transport, predictive policing, online dispute resolution, etc. In his keynote speech, Professor Ian Kerr identified three key challenges: autonomy, emergency and social valence. He further warned that there is a commonly held misconception re AI: people have the tendency to anthropomorphise AI. The Closing Keynote was delivered by Professor Roger Brownsword of King’s College London. Professor Roger Brownsword gave an illuminating lecture on machine learning and regulatory challenges, opportunities and “red lines”. Professor Brownsword said that we neither want over-regulation nor under-regulation for machine learning. He further distinguished between human existence and human development, the latter of which, he said, would be greatly impacted by machine learning. Both Professors Kerr and Brownsword are among our many external collaborators in this proposed research programme.

Conference on Digital Trade in the Asia-Pacific

 

This conference, jointly organised by Melbourne Law School and Singapore Management University School of Law on 6 December 2017 in Singapore is aimed at engaging in a deep, transparent, and multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues relevant to digital trade and collectively seek solutions for these complex policy issues.
Indeed, the phenomenal growth of digital trade in the Asia-Pacific region has opened up a world of new opportunities as well as difficult policy challenges. Restrictions on digital trade make it tougher for technology companies, as well as SMEs, to access new markets and develop economically efficient business models, and also reduce consumer choice. Further, the interconnected nature of the internet raises concerns about digital trade and the protection of personal data, online consumer protection, commercial and government surveillance, cybersecurity and prevention of cybercrimes. All of these issues are multi-faceted and complex, and necessitate engagement and cooperation among various stakeholders including governments, international organisation, companies, civil society and the academic community.

Seminar by Dov Greenbaum on
“Legal and Ethical Considerations with the Advancement
of AI and Machine Learning”

 

On 23 January 2018, Assistant Professor Dov Greenbaum (Director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies) delivered a brilliant seminar entitled “Legal and Ethical Considerations with the Advancement of AI and Machine Learning. What Can We Learn on the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein?". During his lecture, Assistant Professor Greenbaum masterfully explained how the varied and diverse interactions between technology and society raise new and exciting legal questions and ethical concerns. Significant yet challenging issues were explored, including the need to rethink foundational concepts of law (such as mens rea and personhood), as well as the future of lawyers within the legal profession. The lecture was followed by an insightful commentary by Mr Chia Ling Koh (Managing Director, OC Queen Street) who put forward three propositions on how we should think about AI and Machine Learning. This seminar was moderated by Ms Candice Kwok (Partner, Marks & Clerk Singapore LLP) who facilitated a stimulating discussion during the Q&A. Interesting questions were raised, such as the transparency of AI, relevance of business ethics to AI and Machine Learning, whether decisions to kill should be regulated and how we should respond to biases based on big data predictive analytics.

Academic Partner of Singapore Academy
of Law’s Future of Law Programme

 

On 23 January 2018, Assistant Professor Dov Greenbaum (Director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies) delivered a brilliant seminar entitled “Legal and Ethical Considerations with the Advancement of AI and Machine Learning. What Can We Learn on the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein?". During his lecture, Assistant Professor Greenbaum masterfully explained how the varied and diverse interactions between technology and society raise new and exciting legal questions and ethical concerns. Significant yet challenging issues were explored, including the need to rethink foundational concepts of law (such as mens rea and personhood), as well as the future of lawyers within the legal profession. The lecture was followed by an insightful commentary by Mr Chia Ling Koh (Managing Director, OC Queen Street) who put forward three propositions on how we should think about AI and Machine Learning. This seminar was moderated by Ms Candice Kwok (Partner, Marks & Clerk Singapore LLP) who facilitated a stimulating discussion during the Q&A. Interesting questions were raised, such as the transparency of AI, relevance of business ethics to AI and Machine Learning, whether decisions to kill should be regulated and how we should respond to biases based on big data predictive analytics.

Visit to Lazada Group

 

Our LLM students visited the headquarters of Lazada Group, Southeast Asia's largest e-commerce platform. We were hosted by Ms Gladys Chun (General Counsel, Lazada) and Mr Christopher Chan (General Counsel, Redmart). Mr Clarence Tan (Junior Legal Counsel, Lazada) brought us on a tour around the office, and members of Lazada’s legal and compliance team shared their experiences in cross-border transactions and provided advice on becoming an in-house counsel.

Last updated on 11 Feb 2019 .