Singapore Unveils Comprehensive Framework for Governing Generative AI

May 30, 2024
Authored by
Anisha Chadha
Legal Researcher at Holistic AI
Singapore Unveils Comprehensive Framework for Governing Generative AI

On 30 May 2024, Singapore made headlines with the release of the Model AI Governance Framework for Generative AI, a collaborative effort between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the AI Verify Foundation. This groundbreaking framework represents a meticulous approach to managing the unique challenges presented by generative artificial intelligence (AI).

As generative AI continues to advance, it becomes increasingly evident that a coordinated global effort is necessary to develop effective policy approaches. The 9 dimensions outlined in the Model AI Governance Framework for Generative AI provide a comprehensive foundation for initiating a global dialogue to address concerns surrounding generative AI while fostering an environment conducive to ongoing innovation. Central to these discussions are the core principles of accountability, transparency, fairness, robustness, and security, which underpin the framework's proposals. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration between policymakers, industry stakeholders, researchers, and like-minded jurisdictions to navigate the complexities of AI governance effectively.

1. Accountability

The framework emphasizes the importance of clearly defining responsibility across the AI development process, advocating for a proactive approach to protecting end-users. It suggests allocating responsibility upfront (Ex Ante) based on stakeholders' control levels in generative AI development, akin to the shared responsibility models in the cloud industry. This approach aims to ensure overall security and foster a safer ecosystem. Additionally, the framework highlights the need for safety nets (Ex Post) to address unforeseen issues, suggesting measures like indemnity and insurance to better cover end-users.

2. Data

The framework discusses the crucial role of data in developing AI models and applications, highlighting the need for large, high-quality datasets. It discusses the challenges surrounding the use of personal data, copyright material, and the importance of maintaining data integrity. Suggestions include policymakers clarifying how existing personal data laws apply to AI, exploring Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) to protect data privacy, and addressing issues of copyright and consent. Additionally, it advocates for best practices in data governance and suggests expanding trusted datasets globally to improve model development and evaluation. Overall, it calls for open dialogue among stakeholders to navigate the evolving landscape of AI technology while ensuring fairness and respecting individual rights.

3. Trusted Development and Deployment

The framework highlights the importance of trustworthy AI model development and deployment, highlighting the need for industry-wide best practices and transparency. Despite the open-source nature of some models, critical information is often missing. The industry should adopt safety measures throughout the AI lifecycle and ensure transparency akin to "food labels" detailing data sources, safety evaluations, and intended use, while balancing the protection of proprietary information. Evaluation methods like benchmarking and red teaming are essential but currently insufficient. A standardized approach, with baseline safety tests and continuous improvements, is necessary to ensure robust and safe AI deployment, particularly for high-risk applications.

4. Incident Reporting

Incident reporting is crucial for the continuous improvement and security of AI systems. Despite robust safeguards, AI, like all software, is not foolproof. Established in critical sectors like finance and cybersecurity, incident reporting enables timely notification and remediation. It involves proactive measures such as vulnerability reporting and bug-bounty programs to identify and patch vulnerabilities. After incidents occur, organizations must have internal processes for reporting and remediating issues, potentially notifying the public and authorities. Defining "severe AI incidents" is essential, with standards often harmonized with existing regimes. The EU AI Act exemplifies legal requirements for reporting serious AI incidents, balancing comprehensive reporting with practical considerations.

5. Testing and Assurance

Third-party testing and assurance are essential for establishing trust in AI systems, like finance and healthcare practices. These external audits provide transparency, credibility, and regulatory compliance. The development of a robust third-party testing ecosystem hinges on defining reliable testing methodologies and ensuring the independence of testing entities. Standardizing benchmarks and evaluation methods, possibly through standards organizations like ISO/IEC and IEEE, will facilitate consistent and effective third-party testing. Additionally, accrediting qualified testers will ensure the objectivity and integrity of test results, with industry bodies and governments playing crucial roles in building these capabilities.

6. Security

Generative AI has highlighted the need for enhanced AI security, addressing both traditional software security concerns and novel threat vectors specific to AI models. Security-by-design principles, which integrate security throughout the system's development life cycle (SDLC), must be refined for generative AI due to its unique challenges, such as natural language input and probabilistic behavior. New security safeguards, including input filters for unsafe prompts and specialized digital forensics tools for AI, are essential. Additionally, resources like MITRE’s Adversarial Threat Landscape for AI Systems can aid in risk assessment and threat modeling, providing valuable information on adversary tactics and techniques.

7. Content Provenance

The rise of generative AI, leading to the proliferation of synthetic content, has blurred the distinction between AI-generated and original content, resulting in concerns such as deepfakes and misinformation. To address this challenge, technical solutions like digital watermarking and cryptographic provenance have emerged to label and provide additional information about AI-generated content.

Digital watermarking embeds information within the content to identify AI-generated content, while cryptographic provenance tracks and verifies the origin and any edits made to digital content. Efforts such as the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) are driving the development of open standards for tracking content provenance. However, these technical solutions may need to be supplemented by enforcement mechanisms to be truly effective.

8. Safety and Alignment R&D

Investing in safety alignment research and development (R&D) is crucial to address emerging challenges in AI. One key focus is on developing models that are better aligned with human values and objectives, through approaches like Reinforcement Learning from AI Feedback (RLAIF) and mechanistic interpretability. Another area of research involves evaluating models post-training to ensure alignment and detect potentially harmful capabilities early on. While much of this R&D is currently undertaken by AI companies, the establishment of AI safety R&D institutes in several countries signals a commitment to accelerate progress. However, global cooperation is essential to optimize talent and resources for maximum impact, enabling the development of safety mechanisms ahead of advancements in model capabilities.

9. AI for Public Good

AI has the potential to benefit society in many ways, and efforts should be made to ensure its deployment for public good. This involves democratizing access to technology by ensuring that all members of society can use AI safely and responsibly. Governments can partner with companies and communities to promote digital literacy and support SMEs in adopting AI. AI should also serve the public through impactful public services, facilitated by responsible data sharing and coordination between governments and AI developers. To maximize AI's benefits, the workforce needs to be upskilled to effectively utilize AI tools and adapt to job transformations. Additionally, sustainability is crucial, and stakeholders must collaborate to develop energy-efficient AI technology and track its carbon footprint to support climate goals.


In conclusion, Singapore's Model AI Governance Framework for Generative AI prioritizes accountability, transparency, and public welfare, serving as a roadmap for fostering innovation and societal progress. It ensures ethical AI integration through democratized access, responsible service delivery, workforce upskilling, and sustainability measures, providing vital guidance in navigating the complexities of AI governance.

AI Governance with Holistic AI

The Model AI Governance Framework for Generative AI underscores the growing necessity for a coordinated global endeavor to formulate effective policy approaches. It also underscores the importance of international cooperation to build trust in AI. Schedule a call with our governance experts to find out how Holistic AI’s specialist team can help your organization navigate the dynamic responsible AI ecosystem with confidence.

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DISCLAIMER: This blog article is for informational purposes only. This blog article is not intended to, and does not, provide legal advice or a legal opinion. It is not a do-it-yourself guide to resolving legal issues or handling litigation. This blog article is not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not provide legal advice regarding any situation or employer.

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