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IBM Watson to help Singapore deliver better advice to its citizens

Nurdianah Md Nur | Oct. 14, 2014
The cognitive computing solution will provide citizens with more specific answers to queries regarding personal income tax, workforce safety and work pass when it goes live next year.

IBM Watson signing with Singapore govt
IBM Watson signing ceremony at IBM XCITE 2014 conference at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore on 14 October 2014. 

Singaporeans will soon be able to receive more insightful and personalised advice on government policies and services as a result of a collaboration between the Singapore government and IBM.

Announced at the IBM XCITE 2014 conference in Singapore on 14 October 2014, the partnership is said to be the world's first IBM Watson adoption in the government sector. The initiative also supports the Singapore government's mission of enhancing government-citizen interactions and community engagement.

According to IBM, Watson is a cognitive computing technology that understands natural language, and learns like a human from the information provided by the organisation and interactions with the trainers and users. Once trained, Watson is able to understand a subject and question, and provide answers based on its learnings within seconds to users.

In the first phase of initiative, the Singapore government will work with IBM to train Watson in the areas of personal income tax, employment and work pass, as well as workplace health and safety. This will enable citizens using the self-service applications on government websites to gain more specific answers to their queries when Watson goes live next year.

Government agencies are set to benefit from Watson too. As Watson learns from processing citizens' queries, it allows government agencies to gain a better understanding of the priorities and needs of their constituents. These insights will enable better decision-making and more responsive operations, leading to improved government services and better citizens' engagement in community programmes. "We hope the collaboration will bring about a transformative change in how the government can better interact with citizens and address their needs," said Lim Soo Hoon, Permanent Secretary (Finance) (Performance), Ministry of Finance Singapore.

In line with this announcement, IBM also reported that it will train selected students from the National University of Singapore to use Watsons and build innovations with it from early next year.

 

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