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Singapore Authors Voice Worries About IMDA’s AI Model and Copyright Issues

ByYasmeeta Oon

Apr 29, 2024
Singapore Authors Voice Worries About IMDA's AI Model and Copyright Issues

Singapore Authors Voice Worries About IMDA’s AI Model and Copyright Issues

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is making strides in artificial intelligence with its development of a Southeast Asia-focused large language model (LLM). This ambitious project aims to create an AI model that understands the unique linguistic nuances of Singapore and its neighboring countries, reflecting the region’s rich multilingual context.

However, the project has sparked a dialogue within Singapore’s literary circles. Critics have voiced apprehensions regarding the potential inclusion of copyrighted material in the AI’s training datasets without the authors’ explicit consent. The Straits Times highlighted that the IMDA has partnered with Sing Lit Station, a local literary nonprofit, to conduct a survey seeking feedback from the literary community. Despite these efforts, concerns regarding the survey’s short duration and vague details on compensation persist.

The debate mirrors the global discourse on AI and copyright, notably the lawsuit filed by The New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft. The Times accused the AI developers of using millions of its articles to train their models, leading to copyright infringement claims. The incident underscores the importance of navigating the delicate balance between technological advancement and copyright laws.

In light of the feedback, the IMDA is determined to forge ahead with its National Multimodal LLM Program, which, alongside the Sea-lion model, seeks to overcome the challenges AI faces in accurately interpreting the Southeast Asian context. The authority has taken steps to address the concerns raised, notably by extending the survey deadline to ensure broader community participation.

Overview of IMDA’s LLM Project and Community Feedback
Project AimDevelopment of a Southeast Asia-focused LLM to enhance AI’s understanding of the region’s languages and cultural nuances.
Literary Community ConcernsWorries about the use of copyrighted content without permission, and the impact on authors’ and publishers’ livelihoods.
ComparisonSimilarities drawn with the New York Times lawsuit against AI developers over copyright infringement.
IMDA’s ResponseCollaboration with Sing Lit Station for community feedback, extension of survey deadline, and a commitment to addressing copyright and compensation concerns.

As the IMDA navigates these challenges, it remains committed to its vision of a multilingual AI that serves the needs of Southeast Asia. The authority’s willingness to adapt and engage with the literary community signals a hopeful path forward in the intersection of technology, copyright, and creative expression.

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Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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