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Singapore urges need for international organisations to 'reform' in digital age


Singapore has called on global organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) to reform, so international rules are in line with cybersecurity and other key digital developments. The Asian nation also underscores the need for unified cooperation against COVID-19, which it notes has accelerated "self-defeating" sentiments worldwide including protectionism and xenophobia. Continued international cooperation was key to overcoming the impact of the pandemic as well as to rebuilding, and nations needed to build greater trust and learn from each other, said Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, in the country's national statement at the UN General Assembly's General Debate of the 75th session held Saturday. Delivered via video message, Balakrishnan said in his speech: "The world is facing a period of prolonged turmoil. The multilateral system is confronted by nationalism, xenophobia, the rejection of free trade and global economic integration, and the bifurcation of technology and supply chains. Caught by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, most businesses lacked or had inadequate security systems in place to support remote work and now have to deal with a new reality that includes a much wider attack surface and less secured user devices. "But, these threats are not new.

Computing the Dirichlet-Multinomial Log-Likelihood Function Artificial Intelligence

Dirichlet-multinomial (DMN) distribution is commonly used to model over-dispersion in count data. Precise and fast numerical computation of the DMN log-likelihood function is important for performing statistical inference using this distribution, and remains a challenge. To address this, we use mathematical properties of the gamma function to derive a closed form expression for the DMN log-likelihood function. Compared to existing methods, calculation of the closed form has a lower computational complexity, hence is much faster without comprimising computational accuracy.

Singapore plans to launch country-wide facial recognition system that will replace photo IDs by 2022

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The government of Singapore is preparing to transition to a facial recognition program it hopes will eliminate the need for ID cards by 2022. Beginning in June, kiosks fitted with cameras will be installed at a limited number of government agencies, and instead of presenting an ID card citizens will be able to check in for services with just their faces. The facial recognition system is a major expansion of the Smart Nation Initiative, which began in 2014 under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and through which the state has built up a biometric database on more than four million Singaporeans over the age of 15. The facial recognition kiosks will crosscheck each new scan against this database to verify a person's identity, according to a report in The Strait Times. The kiosks will also work in tandem with SingPass Mobile, an app launched in 2018 that allows people to register their own finger print and face data with the government's biometric database.

A smart surface for smart devices


We've heard it for years: 5G is coming. And yet, while high-speed 5G internet has indeed slowly been rolling out in a smattering of countries across the globe, many barriers remain that have prevented widespread adoption. One issue is that we can't get faster internet speeds without more efficient ways of delivering wireless signals. The general trend has been to simply add antennas to either the transmitter (i.e., Wi-Fi access points and cell towers) or the receiver (such as a phone or laptop). But that's grown difficult to do as companies increasingly produce smaller and smaller devices, including a new wave of "internet of things" systems.

Three from MIT are named 2020 fellows of the IEEE


Among the newly selected 2020 class of fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are three members of the MIT community: Hari Balakrishnan, the Fujitsu Chair Professor in the MT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Richard Lippmann and Daniel Rabideau, members of the technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The IEEE, the world's largest technical professional organization, confers the rank of fellow on senior members whose work has advanced innovation in their respective fields and has furthered the IEEE mission to foster the development of technology to benefit society. Balakrishnan was elevated to fellow for his contributions to the design and application of mobile sensing systems. These contributions include advances in mobile and sensor computing, internet congestion control and routing, overlay networks and peer-to-peer systems, and data management. His current research interests are in networking, sensing, and perception for a world of mobile devices connected to cloud services running in large data centers.

Singapore launches "responsible" AI to realize its Smart City revolution


Singapore will adopt a human-centric approach to AI, and focus on the use of the technology to deliver impactful social and economic benefits for its citizens. The government has initially identified five key sectors: Transport and Logistics, Smart Cities and Estates, Healthcare, Education, Safety, and Border Security (about 300,000 people cross the border with Malaysia daily). The city-state of Singapore was the recipient of the Smart City award in 2018. The vast array of solutions developed by the government from dynamic public bus routing algorithms to real-time parent-teacher portals, or even predictive analytics for water pipe leaks, have proved that Singapore systematically pursues the application of innovative digital technologies to improve people's lives. "We believe that AI is a transformative technology. The fact that computers and systems can now see, hear, understand, and speak, is transformational. It will transform our economy and societies, and disrupt our politics. It will alter the nature of jobs, and the skills our people will need." said Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, who is also Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office, during the Smart City Expo World Congress opening ceremony.

'Smart cities' urged to look beyond rich white men and target those in need

The Japan Times

BARCELONA, SPAIN – A growing push to put cities on a digital path to a greener future risks excluding groups like the poorest, disabled and elderly, and will fail to benefit those people unless technology is used to help meet their needs, rights advocates have warned. They also called for women to be given a bigger say in urban planning that is based on high-tech tools such as big data and artificial intelligence, while speaking at an international conference on "smart cities" in Barcelona this week. "My fear is that smart cities end up benefiting the elite white men," said Catherine D'Ignazio, an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the United States, she said, national politics and other social spheres are shaped by "the privilege hazard," in which a small, dominant group -- often of rich, older men -- make decisions for others whose lives and experiences they know little about. One way to counteract that is to produce and use data that dive into key areas of discrimination, such as gender and race, she added.

Singapore announces national AI strategy, office


Singapore is tapping artificial intelligence as the next part of its "Smart Nation" project, the city-state's foreign minister announced Tuesday. The strategy identifies five areas -- transportation, smart cities, healthcare, education and public safety -- where AI can be used to make big change. As part of its strategy, Singapore also announced the creation of a National AI Office to "drive the national AI agenda." The office will work to enjoin efforts underway in the city-state's research, industry and government sectors to tackle key challenges. Vivian Balakrishnan, who leads the Smart Nation Initiative for Singapore, and serves as its foreign minister, officially announced the new strategy at the opening session of Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Singapore wants to be a 'living lab' for global AI solutions: Vivian Balakrishnan


BARCELONA: Singapore hopes to be a "living laboratory" for developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions globally - an ambition that plays to its strengths, according to Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan. Dr Balakrishnan, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister, was speaking at the opening session of the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday (Nov 19), where he made a pitch for Singapore's attractiveness as an AI hub. For example, testing solutions in Singapore would be facilitated by agile regulations, as the country has just "a single layer of government". "We understand science, technology, engineering. We get it and we're able to make decisions quickly, pivot instantly and seek opportunities that new technology will provide," said Dr Balakrishnan.

'Smart cities that fail to master AI will be left behind,' says Singapore


Singapore, ranked the smartest city in the world in certain polls, has warned cities they must get a handle on artificial intelligence (AI) if they are to succeed as'smart cities', trusted by citizens and enterprises to manage data correctly. The warning came at Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona today (November 19), as Singapore, awarded city of the year at the 2018 show, shared the stage with local politicians from Barcelona and Madrid at the 2019 kick-off. Vivian Balakrishnan, minister for foreign affairs for the government of Singapore, set out Singapore's own AI strategy, as a geographically-constrained but tech-savvy city state. "This technology will change the world, and cities that master AI will get ahead -- those that don't will be left behind," he said. "The fact computers and systems can now see hear, speak and understand is transformational. It will transform our economy, disrupt our politics, alter the nature of our jobs -- and it will define the next phase of our'smart nation' journey."