Microsoft, Singapore co-create digital services for government

Team on building conversational intelligence into public services.

By Anuradha Shukla
July 26, 2016

Singapore and Microsoft have teamed on co-creating next-generation digital government services for a Smart Nation.

Microsoft will work with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to explore a new computing proof-of-concept (POC) that builds conversational intelligence into public services.

This initiative will leverage Microsoft's Conversations as a Platform and aims to make public services more anticipatory, accessible, engaging and inclusive for citizens and constituents.

A Microsoft Centre of Excellence for Leadership in Digital Transformation for Government and Industry will also be established to originate, develop and showcase solutions that transform digital citizen and consumer services for better living.

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

Intelligent software programs

The government of Singapore aims use intelligent software programs known as chatbots for selected public services where appropriate.

Functioning as digital representatives, these chatbots will simulate human behaviour in order to make interactions simpler, more efficient, and more consistent.

The POC will be implemented in three phases, and will involve intelligent chatbots, where users are able to converse with and call upon any applications within a single website to complete tasks.

In addition, the POC will explore potential future scenarios, including services that cater to a multi-lingual and multi-generational population.

"As everything around us becomes more digitised, Conversations as a Platform is a new shift that applies the understanding of human language to computers and computing, which can transform every industry," said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. "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."