As with AI, Asian publics surveyed stand out for their relatively positive views of the impact of job automation. Many Asian publics have made major strides in the development of robotics and AI. The South Korean and Singaporean manufacturing industries, for instance, have the highest and second highest robot density of anywhere in the world. Singapore is also pursuing its goal of becoming the world's first "smart nation," and the government has identified AI as one of many key development areas necessary to reach that goal. Japan has also long been a world leader in robotics manufacturing and development, and robots and AI are increasingly integrated into everyday life there to help with tasks ranging from household chores to elder care.
Since 2019, government-sponsored initiatives around AI have proliferated across Asia Pacific. Such initiatives include the setting up of cross-domain AI ethics councils, guidelines and frameworks for the responsible use of AI, and other initiatives such as financial and technology support. The majority of these initiatives builds on the country's respective data privacy and protection acts. This is a clear sign that governments see the need to expand existing regulations when it comes to leveraging AI as a key driver for digital economies. All initiatives to date are voluntary in nature, but there are indications already that existing data privacy and protection laws will be updated and expanded to include AI.
Singapore is looking to expand its use of cameras and technology to better support law enforcers and first responders. These include plans to tap sensors, video analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and drones to ease manpower shortages and improve service efficiencies. As it is, the police have deployed almost 90,000 cameras in public locations such as carparks and residential estates across the island. And "many more" will be rolled out in the coming years, according to Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K. Shanmugam, who was speaking in parliament Monday. Describing these cameras as "a game-changer" in deterring and investigating crimes, he said the devices had helped the police solve 4,900 cases as of December 2020.
The explosive growth of artificial intelligence has fostered hope that it will help us solve many of the world's most intractable problems. However, there's also much concern about the power of AI, and growing agreement that its use should be guided to avoid infringing upon our rights. Many groups have discussed and proposed ethical guidelines for how AI should be developed or deployed: IEEE, a global professional organization for engineers, has issued a 280-page document on the subject (to which I contributed), and the European Union has published its own framework. The AI Ethics Guidelines Global Inventory has compiled more than 160 such guidelines from around the world. Unfortunately, most of these guidelines are developed by groups or organizations concentrated in North America and Europe: a survey published by social scientist Anna Jobin and her colleagues found 21 in the US, 19 in the EU, 13 in the UK, four in Japan, and one each from the United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore, and South Korea.
This article is written in response to the recent TraceTogether privacy saga. For the non-Singaporeans out there, TraceTogether is Singapore's contact tracing initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. The objective of the program was to quickly identify people who might be in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus. It comprises of an app or physical token which uses Bluetooth signals to store proximity records. As at the end December 2020, 70% of Singapore residents were supposedly on the programme.
Exploring new approaches to improve the capabilities and accuracy of robots, a team of researchers in Singapore has turned to an unexpected source: plants. Robots have been dispatched to move cars, lift weighty inventory in warehouses and assist in construction projects. But what if you need to delicately lift a tiny object 1/50th of an inch? To accomplish that task, the Singapore team turned to a Venus flytrap, one of nature's more fascinating plants. The flytrap, a native of North Carolina, contains tiny hairs on two leaf lobes that, when stimulated by an insect, shut tight and slowly devour the prey.
London (CNN Business)Electric scooter companies are turning to technology to try to reduce accidents and injuries among riders and pedestrians. The problem has become so severe that countries including Singapore, France and Spain have banned e-scooters on pedestrian walkways. A study of more than 100 riders surveyed at an emergency room in Washington, DC, found that nearly three in five were injured while riding on a sidewalk, even in places where it was prohibited. Swedish operator Voi -- which has more than 6 million registered scooter riders across 50 European cities -- has partnered with Dublin startup Luna to develop a system of cameras and sensors that can detect what surface a scooter is riding on, as well as the presence of nearby pedestrians. The technology works in real time.
Huawei Technologies has launched a lab in Singapore to offer mobile developers resources and access to key technologies, including its core kits, artificial intelligence (AI), and augment reality. The Chinese tech giant also is upping its commitment to deliver more localised apps in Singapore, where it saw a 143% jump in new registered developers last year. Led by its mobile arm Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), the new DigiX Lab is located at its local office in Changi Business Park and the first of such facility in Asia-Pacific, the vendor said in a statement Tuesday. It said the lab would support mobile developers throughout the entire app development cycle and its resources would be made available online, accessible virtually across the region. Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority has set aside S$40 million (US$29.53 million) to support research and development efforts and drive adoption of 5G, which include initiatives focused on key verticals such as urban mobility and maritime.
So many robots work at Changi General Hospital in Singapore that until recently it wasn't uncommon to find two delivery bots sitting in a hallway or outside an elevator in a standoff. Such impasses used to happen "several times a day," says Selina Seah, who directs the hospital's Center for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics Technologies. Unsure how to move around another object, or human passersby, the robots would simply freeze, each waiting for the other to move first. "The humans would have to actually go down and pull them apart," she says. Seah says Changi has about 50 robots, from eight manufacturers.
A nightmarish robot with Venus flytraps for hands that can trap objects in its jaw-like leaves -- and then pick them up -- has been developed by scientists. Engineers from Singapore used tiny remote-controlled electrodes to stimulate severed leaves of the iconic carnivorous plants into closing on command. While the project may seem straight out of the mad scientists' playbook, integrating soft and flexible plant matter into robots could have sensible practical applications. It would allow robots to pick up and manipulate fragile objects that might otherwise be damaged by traditional, mechanical graspers, the team explained. At the same time, it requires less power and responds more rapidly than traditional soft actuators made from polymer-based materials.