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IBM and AI Singapore sign MOU to Collaborate on first LLM developed with Southeast Asian context - TGH Technology and Business Portal/Blog

On 28th May 2024, prior to ATx Enterprise 2024, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and AI Singapore (AISG) announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the testing of the SEA-LION large language model (LLM) developed with Southeast Asian context. As part of this collaboration, IBM also plans to incorporate the model into its AI use case library Digital Self-Serve Co-Create Experience (DSCE) to allow data scientists, developers and engineers to explore localised GenerativeAI to accelerate their work.

Under this agreement, IBM and AISG will collaborate in testing SEA-LION using IBM’s AI technology as well as its data and AI platform, watsonx, and collaborate on technical exchanges and knowledge sharing to enhance the model. In line with IBM’s “bring your own model” (BYOM) focus, this collaboration aims to empower organisations with greater flexibility in choosing the right AI models, such as the SEA-LION LLM, to meet their own business goals.

Catherine Lian, General Manager and Technology Leader, IBM ASEAN, said, “At IBM, we believe further progress of generative AI will bring greater performance in smaller language models, with users given the opportunity to personalise models based on their business and industry requirements. No one model is a one-size-fits-all for businesses, and organisations must be empowered with a choice to use their models based on their needs. AI Singapore’s SEA-LION LLM is a big step forward in creating an open AI system and in addressing the ASEAN language challenges that companies and governments face when working with AI.”

“Both AISG and IBM share a common goal to democratise AI and foster an inclusive AI environment for ASEAN nations. IBM will leverage its extensive business and technology ecosystem to help ASEAN organisations and citizens realise the value that custom models like SEA-LION, as well as watsonx, bring.

Dr. Leslie Teo, Senior Director of AI Products, AI Singapore, said, “We are excited to work with IBM to continue advancing a custom-made foundation model for Southeast Asia, by Southeast Asians. This collaboration is a testament to the significance of public and private partnerships, as we strive to anchor deep AI capabilities for the region. We look forward to working with IBM to expand the adoption of SEA-LION across various use cases and help Southeast Asian organisations scale AI safely and responsibly.”

IBM and AI Singapore also plan to work together to incorporate AI governance into SEA-LION. The collaboration is intended to assist companies in managing AI compliance, risk management, and model lifecycle management as government regulation on the technology continues.

IBM and AI SG panel session on SEA-LION LLM at ATx Enterprise 2024

IBM and AI SG came together to discuss the collaboration on a panel at ATx Enterprise 2024, it took place on 29th May at the IBM booth. I attended the IBM and AI SG panel session at ATxSG 2024, it was insightful to learn a bit more about the different languages from Southeast Asia that are coming together for the SEA-LION LLM collaboration.

Where can the SEA-LION LLM be implemented is interesting and encouraging on its potential, outreach and capabilities, and how it can help different industries and businesses in Southeast Asia. The LLM models that end consumers would more commonly know about, e.g.  ChatGPT, Gemini, Meta Llama, they are English language centric. The SEA-LION LLM that is Southeast Asian language context centric, this might be (and can be) a game changer in the LLM market/industry.

I would be keen to know more about the SEA-LION LLM collaboration and future developments down the road, if I do get to know more updates, I would share more, part of my ongoing TGH Technology Research/Learning in Artificial Intelligence (AI) series.

* Information and picture courtesy of IBM and AI Singapore *

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