(StraitsTimes) At a virtual press conference announcing Singapore’s 7th Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the impetus to innovate and digitalise. Outlining the country’s research plans through 2025, the National Research Foundation (NRF) said on Friday (Dec 11) that new opportunities exist at the intersection of AI, 5G and cyber security, and in digital tools that engender trust in areas such as food, medicine and vaccine provenance.
“We must continue to maximise the value created by digital innovation, and better integrate technology and governance,” added Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister and chairs the NRF.
A portion of the research plan’s $25 billion funding will go towards expanded missions. These include:
– AI systems to improve decision making at air and sea ports. Control systems with AI sensors that can detect if aircraft have vacated a runway even in poor visibility and better direct ground traffic;
– Quantum computing techniques to enhance cryptography methods in cyber security to better safeguard 5G applications and connectivity between data centres; and
– Blockchain technologies to authenticate the provenance of food, medicine and vaccine. A blockchain is a decentralised digital database that ensures authenticity and transparency in record keeping.
“The new value is in the interstitials and the points of intersection,” said Minister-in-charge of Cybersecurity S. Iswaran, who is also Minister for Communications and Information.
“All of these (technologies) will undergird the next bound of economic growth… These technologies can catalyse paradigm-shifting applications,” said Mr Iswaran at the virtual press conference.