Diving into the world of AI ethics and governance


Chris Ng

Group Chief Data Governance and Protection Officer, Group Chief Data Officer at National University Health System
Completed Certificate in AI Ethics and Governance

Please share with us your professional life’s journey and at which point in your career did you aspire to pursue this certificate.

I have been in the public service or public sector for the past 20 years of my career. I began at IRAS, focusing on property tax work and contributing to the establishment of data analytics capabilities in IRAS. I served in the Ministry of Finance, specialising in strategic foresight, where I held the positions of deputy director in the digital government division and head of the government's data policy unit. Subsequently, I moved on to the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office to continue my work in data and took up a new role in capability development. Finally, I joined NUHS to focus on data governance. I pursued this certificate as it became clear to me that data governance would soon evolve into AI governance.

How was your learning experience with this certificate?

The learning experience was very useful, and the professors were obviously very knowledgeable in their field of study. It helped me appreciate both the technical and corporate governance aspects of AI. The aspect of this certificate that I liked the most is the interaction with the professors and course mates through project work. We come from different disciplines and perspectives, and learning each other's concerns and approaches to AI governance was very helpful.

Could you share with us some interesting facets of the certificate you enrolled?

One interesting facet that I learned is that AI bias is a quantifiable measure that can be mathematically tested. AI developers and deployers sometimes attempt to obfuscate the issue by using broad ethical arguments, claiming that fairness and ethics are non-measurable. However, to some extent, they are measurable.

Has this certificate benefitted you in your career development?

Yes, this certificate has benefited me in my career development. I needed to get up to speed in the domain of AI governance and get certified since this is a peculiarity of working in healthcare. The certificate helps my organisation validate that I am ready to perform my job. I am currently developing and implementing the AI Governance policy for NUHS and setting up our AI Governance committee. I will use the learning from the courses to design policies and processes to guide the safe and effective use of AI in NUHS and healthcare.

Do you think lifelong learning is important? Please share your thoughts about it.

Yes, I believe lifelong learning is important. Technology and society change regularly, often in fits and spurts. As someone working in the data and tech field, knowledge quickly becomes outdated, sometimes even on a weekly basis. To perform at an optimum level, we must constantly learn in both formal and informal settings. While knowledge is transient, wisdom is persistent. When a person dedicates themselves to learning, they accept that they do not know everything about the world, and there is always some new factor or development that we are not aware of. This is the beginning and building of wisdom: we do not know everything, and we should be prepared to have our minds changed and be proven wrong about the world.