IP on Edge: The South-East Asia Perspective
Apr16

IP on Edge: The South-East Asia Perspective

In recent years, there has been a tremendous growth in the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology across all sectors globally. IoT technology has demonstrated an ability to enhance many aspects of how we work and live, from more accurately tracking cargo as it journeys across the globe, to enhancing predictive maintenance of manufacturing equipment, to allowing your refrigerator to tell you when you’re running low on your favourite yoghurt. This rapid adoption has been fuelled by the ability to pair IoT not just with cloud computing but also with edge computing, allowing businesses to benefit from the unlimited computing resources of the cloud to run artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities or more detailed diagnostics, and to pivot to edge computing where more processing is required closer to the IoT device. The ability to adopt both cloud and edge computing allows businesses to operate IoT technology across their entire operations, even where there is reduced latency or where faster response times are required. As a result of this, we are seeing more and more businesses developing and installing new IoT devices to enhance their products and services. By some estimates, there may be as many as 25 billion installed end-point IoT devices by 2020, with a further 1 million more devices expected to come online each hour thereafter.   IoT and the IP risk The explosion in the number of IoT devices naturally brings with it several risks. These include risks relating to data privacy, cybersecurity, data sovereignty and intellectual property (IP). There has been a traditional focus on the three former risks due to high profile data breaches and several new laws being enacted in the region such as Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act, Thailand’s new Personal Data Protection Act, and Vietnam’s Cybersecurity Law. The risks associated with IP are therefore not often the foremost consideration when undertaking IoT-related innovation projects. What then is this IP risk? In short, the development of new IoT technology by a company brings with it the risk of IP infringement claims by third parties that this ‘new’ technology incorporates or copies the third party’s IP without permission. Such litigation can be costly to undertake and may result in very high settlements or awards. According to a recent study, there has been a steady increase in IoT-related patent litigation in the past seven years in the US, the majority of which are brought by non-practicing entities (NPE), or patent trolls, and this scenario is very likely to play out in South-East Asia as the region develops. Simply put, the risk of litigation in the IoT space is growing and is likely to continue. IP infringement...

Read More
Singapore to form advisory council for ethical use of AI
Jun21

Singapore to form advisory council for ethical use of AI

Earlier this month, the Singapore Government announced the formation of an Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data as part of a wider push to support Singapore as a global hub for AI development and innovation. The council will be chaired by former Attorney-General VK Rajah, and will consist of representatives from technology companies and users of AI. What is the role of the Advisory Council? The Advisory Council will lead discussions and provide guidance to the Singapore Government on the responsible development and deployment of AI. It will work with key stakeholder groups on ethical issues arising from the use of AI. This will include working with industry to understand issues arising in the private sector; working with consumer advocates to understand consumer expectations in respect of AI; and working with the investment community to increase awareness of the need to incorporate ethical considerations in their AI investment decisions. Why is Singapore forming such an Advisory Council? AI is becoming an increasingly integral part of life in Singapore as the Government executes its “Smart Nation” initiative. For example, local bank OCBC has developed an AI-based automated chat system called Emma that can communicate with customers and work out home loans; scientists at A*star’s Genome Institute of Singapore are using AI to pinpoint the roots of gastric cancer by scanning the entire genomes of a few hundred gastric cancer tumours; and researchers from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Singapore’s National Environment Agency has developed an AI agent to forecast dengue incidence up to four months ahead by learning the seasonal patterns of dengue cases over the last decade. These are just a few recent use cases as, with top-down support from the Government, Singapore embarks on an effort to position itself as a global centre of excellence in AI. Putting in place the Advisory Council, as part of a wider set of initiatives in the AI space, is the start of an effort to build a framework for trust in AI. What does “ethics” mean in this context? In making the announcement, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) provided its own definition of “ethics” in the context of AI: “Ethics encompasses issues surrounding fairness, transparency and the ability to explain an AI’s decision.” This is a concept that will no doubt develop in the coming years but by providing a definition and, in particular, emphasising a need for AI to be able to explain itself, the IMDA appears to be setting out in general terms what it considers to be “ethical” in the context of AI. What else is Singapore...

Read More