SMU launches AI research centre; will look at ethics and impact on Singapore’s workforce

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Management University (SMU) on Monday (Sep 24) launched its new Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Governance, which will look at how the technology will have an impact on Singapore’s workforce and issues involving driverless vehicles, among other things.

In a press release issued on Monday, SMU said the setting up of the centre was made possible by the S$4.5 million grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). This was first announced in June this year

Autonomous vehicle with LiDAR sensors

The man overseeing the new research centre is Associate Professor Goh Yihan, dean of the SMU School of Law, it added.

“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,” the university said.

The centre will undertake eight research projects which will examine, among other things, AI’s impact on the labour force and society, the opportunities and challenges it brings, and the legal, ethical, social and regulatory issues relating to data-driven transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles. 

In carrying out the research, the new centre will work with various public agencies, private organisations and academic institutions. For instance, it will work with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London to conduct a pilot study on trustworthy AI.

SMU students will also benefit from the launch of the centre. It said that students will be on a year-long project – led by Professor Dov Greenbaum, the director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies – that will see them work with stakeholders associated with an emerging technology.    

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“In this period that is fast influenced by technological disruptions, it is our intent that the research insights generated will inform our teaching, as we aim to future-proof our graduates with a forward-looking curriculum that integrates theory and practice,” said Assoc Prof Goh in the press release.