April 19, 2024
Singapore's Emergence as AI Hub: Local Language Models Set to Transform Industry

Singapore’s Emergence as AI Hub: Local Language Models Set to Transform Industry

Singapore, renowned for its advancements in emerging technologies, is setting its sights on becoming a global hub for artificial intelligence (AI) by 2024. Spearheaded by the government-led initiative AI Singapore, the nation is focusing on scaling its AI models for commercial use, with a particular emphasis on catering to the diverse populations of Southeast Asia.

At the forefront of this initiative is SEA-LION, an open-source large language model (LLM) developed by AI Singapore. Designed to represent the languages and cultures of Southeast Asia, SEA-LION is set to be the first in a series of LLMs tailored for the region. Trained on data spanning 11 languages, including Vietnamese, Thai, and Bahasa Indonesia, SEA-LION is slated for release in 2024.

Dr. Leslie Teo, senior director of AI products at AI Singapore, outlined the organization’s plans to enhance SEA-LION’s capabilities. He explained, “We are building a larger corpus for pre-training and hope to hit 2-3 trillion soon. Once that is done, we will further develop SEA-LION to 30-50B parameters this year, and extend SEA-LION into a multimodal speech-text model.”

SEA-LION’s significance lies in its potential to reduce reliance on Western-built models tailored for the English language, offering tailored solutions for Southeast Asian countries.

Singapore’s reputation as a leading tech hub extends beyond AI, with its prowess in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology development well-established. Teo emphasized the country’s conducive environment for innovation, stating, “We believe that the SEA-LION model will set new benchmarks in language learning and understanding, paving the way for more advanced and efficient natural language processing models in the future.”

To accelerate SEA-LION’s development, AI Singapore has forged partnerships with industry giants such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Research, as well as collaborations with communities like SEACrowd to expand its dataset in native languages.

The release of Singapore’s National AI Strategy 2.0 underscores the nation’s commitment to AI innovation. With plans to cultivate 15,000 AI experts, bolster government competency, and build a smart nation, Singapore is poised to solidify its position as a global AI leader.

In the financial technology (fintech) sector, AI investment in Singapore has surged, reaching $333.13 million in the latter half of 2023 alone, a 77% increase from the previous year. This growth underscores Singapore’s burgeoning AI ecosystem and its potential to drive economic and technological advancements in the region and beyond.

Image: Wallpapers.com

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