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Singapore commits to AI innovation, biometric technology deployment in top priority sectors


singapore biometric border security

Singapore wants to heavily invest in biometrics for border control as one of five AI projects to boost social and economic development, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced, according to The Straits Times. The five current top priority projects identified by Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office are focused on optimizing border security, logistics, healthcare, education, and estate management.

“Countries will need to keep pace with technology, and harness it to tackle common challenges and national priorities,” Heng explained.

By 2025, immigration checkpoints at airports in Singapore will be equipped with biometric fingerprint and facial and iris recognition technology to automate security clearance, improve immigration processing times, deliver a seamless travel experience, and reduce human error.

After facial recognition was first deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 4, manpower and efficiency savings grew by 20 percent, writes The Straits Times.

Changi Airport originally selected Idemia in September 2015 to provide biometric identification and authentication services as passengers pass through the airport’s terminal. The deployment was fully completed in 2017. In July 2019, a similar biometric immigration system was deployed at Singapore’s new Seletar Airport.

In healthcare, an AI deep learning system called Selena+ will be rolled out by 2022 to improve accuracy and speed in detecting eye conditions by analyzing retinal photographs.

Heng believes AI can also be used to predict, detect, and manage chronic diseases that could go undiagnosed for years.

“AI can be used to analyze clinical and genomic data, medical images, and health behaviors to better assess the risk profile of individual patients – for better prevention and case management,” he said.

The government is very committed to AI innovation, and to prove it, has created a National AI Office that will prioritize projects and scout for AI talent, and released a set of guidelines regarding the ethical and responsible use of AI. It is investing more than $500 million in digital technologies and by 2025 wants to train 25,000 individuals in AI coding and implementation.

“Already a global thought leader on AI ethics and governance, the publication of the National AI Strategy is evidence that Singapore is taking a holistic and inclusive approach on how the nation can be a fast adopter of best-in-class technology that is empowered by a focus on building national capabilities,” said Andreas Ebert, Microsoft’s worldwide national technology officer.

For smart estate management, residents will use AI-powered bots to reports problems. The data-driven insights will be used to improve estate planning and facility optimization.

The educational initiative involves the roll out of automated marking systems and giving students access to AI-enabled adaptive learning systems, while in terms of AI in logistics, a common data platform will be used for intelligent routing and truck scheduling to improve delivery processes. By 2030, the goal is to include air and land cargo operations.

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