These two countries are teaming up to develop AI for cybersecurity

Singapore's Ministry of Defence and France's Ministry of the Armed Forces will jointly develop artificial intelligence capabilities, with potential research areas that include natural language processing.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor
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Image: Getty Images/Andriy Onufriyenko

Singapore and France have announced plans to set up a research facility to jointly develop artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that can be applied in cyberdefense. 

The agreement between Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and France's Ministry of the Armed Forces (MOAF) will see both countries collaborate in potential research, such as AI for geospatial analysis, natural language processing to extract information for analysis, and computer vision for monitoring image and video feeds to identify potential threats across various environmental conditions. 

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The research facility is the first lab in Singapore that Mindef has established together with another country. 

The facility will take a "global and multidisciplinary approach" to developing AI capabilities for "impactful" defense applications, according to Mindef. 

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The lab will be led by the French National Centre for Scientific Research and Temasek Laboratories @ National University of Singapore, both of which will gather research expertise from the wider community in each country. These sources of knowledge will include institutes of higher learning and research facilities. 

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Mindef's permanent secretary of defense, Chan Heng Kee, said his ministry was expanding its partnerships to tap new sources of innovation for defense applications. "Digital and dual-use technologies like AI are rapidly evolving today," Chan said. "By bringing together leading researchers in Singapore and France, we can accelerate our research to tackle shared security challenges."

The two countries inked an agreement to collaborate in March 2022 across various digital and green economy areas, including smart transport, financial services, and medical technology. The France-Singapore Digital and Green Partnership provides a "structured" platform for both nations to cooperate on projects across a range of digital and green issues.

Singapore passed amendments to two bills last August that paved the way for a new digital intelligence unit to be established as part of the country's armed forces. The government described the move as necessary amid intensifying "cyber intrusions" that threatened critical systems. The new digital and intelligence service unit is the fourth service under the Singapore Armed Forces and is responsible for combating online attacks. 

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