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Singapore is 1st for AI Readiness in Asia Pacific!

Singapore retains the top spot in the second edition of Salesforce’s Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index, ahead of ten other markets.

by K. Vatsala Devi
singpaore ai readiness

Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, today announced the second edition of its Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index, which once again saw Singapore retaining the top spot for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Readiness, compared to ten other countries in the region.

Commissioned by Salesforce and prepared by Access Partnership, the Index assesses the readiness of governments, businesses, and consumers across eleven APAC economies in their adoption of AI technologies. Singapore leads all three indices with an overall score of 65.7, followed by Japan (60.0) and Hong Kong (59.3).

Globally, AI is expected to contribute approximately USD$15.7 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2030, a USD$2 trillion increase from 2019. In Singapore, the AI market is projected to reach US$960 million in 2022, and US$16 billion by 2030.

“Covid-19 has accelerated investment in AI across economies in Asia Pacific, with governments continuing to lead the charge on these efforts.  In Singapore, whole-of-government strategies are guiding the development of AI ecosystems, and the use of AI is becoming ubiquitous,” said Sassoon Grigorian, Senior Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy, APAC and Japan, Salesforce.

AI Strategy Helps in Positioning The Country

“The report recommends a number of measures to boost economies’ effective use of AI. These include having a national AI strategy backed by robust principles; growing AI ecosystems and investing in talent; ensuring trust, as well as applying AI for social good,” he added.

Yeong Zee Kin, Assistant Chief Executive, Data Innovation and Protection of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Deputy Commissioner of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) in Singapore, said, “This year saw more economies increasing their rate of digital adoption, amidst an upward trend in AI-enabled products and services. Accordingly, trustworthy AI needs to also transit from principles to practice.”

He further explained that “The development of standards for trustworthy AI will sustain a progressive environment for the benefit of consumers. The report mentions that international cooperation on AI frameworks, principles, and standards is growing. Singapore will continue to actively support the adoption of AI while balancing both innovation and public trust through a multi-stakeholder approach.”

Singapore rated most highly in government readiness; showed improvement in consumer readiness

Coming up top in all three indices, Singapore holds the most significant lead in the government AI readiness component.

●            Government readiness: Singapore scored 81.5 points, up from 76.4 in 2019. Singapore’s strong commitment to AI, and its robust policy and regulatory framework is allowing it to successfully maximize the impact of AI on its economy. Australia trailed in second place with 74.2 points followed by Japan (71.6).

●            Business readiness: Singapore scored 49.7 points, followed closely by Japan (48.4) and India (47.3). Indicators measured include digital adoption by businesses, business sophistication as well as knowledge and creative outputs. Companies in financial services, healthcare, tourism, and transport and logistics sectors in Singapore were found to be well-equipped to adopt AI.

●            Consumer readiness: Singapore scored 65.9 points, up from 61.3 in 2019. This is followed by Thailand (63.9) and Hong Kong (63.1). Indicators measure consumers’ awareness, understanding and adoption of AI products and services.

In addition to examining how the eleven economies fare relative to one other, the Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index provides an in-depth look at Singapore as it drives successful AI adoption. Salesforce continues to support the country’s efforts through its dedicated AI research facility in Singapore.

In the report, Salesforce also offers three recommendations for the country to maximize the use of AI in a safe and inclusive manner:

1) expanding participation in regional and international AI standards-setting exercises,

2) sustaining investments in bridging the AI skills gap, and

3) strengthening AI provisions in Digital Economy Agreements

AI readiness index

Malaysia’s AI Readiness Isn’t Up Par

Meanwhile across the Causeway, its neighbor Malaysia, despite the many digitization initiatives introduced didn’t fare well as it failed to place within the Top 5 for both the Business Readiness and Government Readiness categories. Malaysia placed fifth with 58.7 points for the consumer readiness category. Under the category of Business Readiness, with a mere 39.4 points, it came in eighth and secured the sixth placing for Government Readiness.

The Index illustrated that the preparedness for AI varies significantly across the Asia Pacific region, demonstrating the different emphasis and initiatives that governments are taking to promote and progress their AI agendas. In some economies, such as India and Phillippines, business or consumer AI readiness is higher than government readiness; while in others such as Australia and New Zealand, the government is leading the way.

Several factors can be seen to explain the different levels of readiness ranging from investment, skills, and capabilities to the enabling policies ad regulations being introduced. Key recommendations from the report can be obtained here.

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