Google wants to help Singapore businesses use data and AI responsibly

Google wants to help Singapore businesses use data and AI responsibly

Google wants to provide organizations in Singapore with the cloud tools and skills they need to leverage data for greater efficiency and better service delivery. It also hopes to help them leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and do so responsibly, based on its own set of best practices and principles.

As organizations around the world digitally transform their businesses, including those in Singapore and Malaysia, the US cloud provider wants to learn how its technology and infrastructure can aid their efforts.

Data, in particular, will prove critical to enabling businesses to exploit new opportunities in a digital economy, Sherie Ng, country manager for Google Cloud in Singapore and Malaysia, said in an interview with ZDNET.

She said companies should figure out how to leverage data to better understand and serve customers, as well as reduce inefficiencies and improve work processes. The ability to generate insights from the right data would also be essential for companies to not only create new businesses, products and services, but also identify ways to measure and reduce their energy consumption and costs, Ng said.

This meant building digital infrastructures that were global in scale and capable of supporting real-time access to data, she noted. She added that organizations in certain markets like Singapore are now looking to extract more value from their cloud adoption as they move through the model.

“They’re not just interested in moving workloads to the cloud. We’re seeing customers who want to be truly cloud native,” she said. These organizations were building their DevOps teams and deploying cloud-native technologies, such as containers and Kubernetes, Ng added.

In doing so, however, they struggled to find the right talents and skills to help them transform into cloud-native environments, she said. It’s an area Google hoped to address through programs such as the Skills Ignition SG training program, which was introduced in 2020, and development centers for startups, she noted.

Google also aims to offer the technology that could establish the transparency companies need, for example to measure their carbon footprint, she said, adding that an organization’s entire ecosystem should be sustainable, including its core infrastructure and supply chain.

Ng, who took up her current role in December 2021 from Microsoft where she was managing director of the public sector, said her top priority for the next two years was to enable businesses in the two Asian markets to transform not only digitally , but also to do so on a green and sustainable basis.

In Singapore, this included working with the government on AI research and skills building, where Google would offer training resources and certification programs to build AI and machine learning skills among local public sector workers. .

Additionally, the cloud provider would support government initiatives to foster AI governance and ethics in sectors such as finance. Google contributed to Singapore’s model AI governance framework and self-assessment guide for businesses, and served on the country’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI.

Ng noted that AI was an important technology, but needed effective regulation to ensure it was put to good use. Echoing the Singapore government’s call for “safeguards”, she said these were needed to inculcate responsible use of AI.

“And there will be conversations about what works for Singapore as a country…every country will have its nuances,” she said, adding that Google wanted to share its own AI best practices and principles that it had. adopted globally. The data it uses, for example, must be inclusive to mitigate the risk of bias. Humans are also involved in final decisions to establish accountability.

Google itself faced controversy involving its ethical AI unit, when it fired a team member last year due, the company says, to violations of its code of conduct and its security policies. Reports suggest the move was linked to the departure of another researcher following her criticism that Google is “silencing marginalized voices” and she co-wrote a research paper urging tech giants to ensure that AI language systems do not promote gender bias.

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