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Singapore partners with Microsoft to provide digital government services via chatbots

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Singapore, being one of the rising and powerful commercial tech hubs has been attracting eyeballs from various tech giants, conglomerates, and investors. Recently, Microsoft has announced its partnership with Singaporean government in a move to co-create next-generation digital government services. The government wishes to explore the modern arenas of technology especially, the use of intelligent software programmes known as ‘chatbots’ for few public services.

Microsoft will provide services based on “Conversations as a Platform” which involve bots that can pair the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence. It basically represents a fundamental shift where the power of human language, artificial intelligence and machine learning are applied pervasively through computing interface and interaction.

This will enable users to converse with bots and call upon any applications within a single website to complete tasks. It will also explore potential future scenarios, including services that cater to a multi-lingual and multi-generational population.

 I believe there are more intuitive ways for government services to be delivered to our citizens. Everybody expects responsive and personalised interactions in real time. The recent quantum improvement of natural language processing means that ‘conversations’ will be the new medium. This joint research project with Microsoft to demonstrate the utility of conversational computing for public services will be all the more pertinent.

said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will work on a new computing proof-of-concept (POC) that builds conversational intelligence into public services, with the aim of making them more anticipatory, accessible, engaging and inclusive for citizens and constituents.

The POC will be implemented in three phases. In phase one, chatbots will be answering simple factual questions based on the vast database provided by the government. Second phase will witness bots helping users complete simple tasks and transactions within government websites. In the final phase, chatbots will be seen responding to personalised queries from users, further enhancing user engagement by providing an interactive conversational experience.

 We’re excited to partner with organisations like the Government of Singapore to help transform its engagements with citizens and businesses to seize the opportunities ahead.

 said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

Earlier IDA introduced a virtual assistant ‘Ask Jamie’ which has limited functionality. The Singaporean government seems to be adamant in making its digital services go hand-in-hand with recent developments in the technological space.


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