RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • The use of AI in Singapore’s public sector is gaining speed as the Lion City positions itself as an AI powerhouse in Southeast Asia—and the world.
  • Despite this momentum, some government leaders remain sceptical of AI’s potential, believing that it can only ever be 95 percent accurate.
  • The fact is that 99 percent accuracy is possible with AI for organisations that harness human knowledge to close the accuracy gap.
  • Getting results starts with a strong focus on four fundamentals that can drive the success of human and machine collaboration.


AI is on the move in Singapore. The government views it as critical for digital readiness and economic growth. Citizens are embracing it. In fact, 72 percent would use more government digital services if agencies used AI to provide more accurate and useful information, according to an Accenture Citizen Pulse Survey. Here, AI is not coming. It has arrived.

Yet just as the use of AI among government agencies in Singapore is gaining momentum, misconceptions that it can only ever be 95 percent accurate threaten to stop progress in its tracks. To break through this threshold—and journey to 99 percent accuracy—both the sceptics and the die-hards must ignore the hype and emphasise human and machine collaboration.

The human-machine dance

This dynamic between humans and machines—which is non-negotiable to reach 99 percent accuracy—is often overlooked. Instead, many government agencies take a technology approach to AI implementation, expecting to plug it in and watch the magic happen immediately. What is needed is a strategic, outcomes-focused approach that defines success milestones for a specific end goal. While the AI improves, human oversight is essential.

AI could create up to US$215 billion in gross value added (GVA) across 11 industries in Singapore by 2035.

Close the accuracy gap

To breach AI’s accuracy threshold, Singapore’s government agencies should develop an ecosystem to support and scale their AI algorithms. The focus should be on the following fundamentals.

Double down on data

The more that datasets are proxies for reality, the better they generate accurate outcomes that can transform how government works.

Open up algorithms

Building algorithms with open source frameworks creates opportunities for learning and improvement to reduce error rates and biased results.

Foster feedback

AI accuracy improvements start with a human-machine feedback loop that assesses performance and feeds learnings back into algorithms.

Design for humans

If the AI is not intuitive and easy to use, or adds to their workload, people may not use it. And without humans to train the AI, 99 percent cannot happen.

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About the Authors

Wee Wei Ng

Managing Director – Health And Public Service, ASEAN


Ashley Khor

Applied Intelligence Lead – Health & Public Service Singapore

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