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Singapore Announces AI National Strategy, China's 11.11 Sale Rakes in USD 38B & More News

This week in tech news: Singapore rolls out national strategy on artificial intelligence, China’s record Singles’ Day offers glimpse of future shopping trends and Microsoft is using growth mindset to power management strategy.

Tech news you need to know, in three minutes or less.


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Singapore Aims to Carve Out Niche in AI Race Led by U.S., China

Singapore has unveiled an ambitious strategy to become a global leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, attempting to carve out a niche for itself in an increasingly politicized technology. Security clearance at all immigration checkpoints in Singapore will be fully automated with fingerprint, facial and iris scan by 2025, as part of the nation's plan to harness artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to deliver social and economic benefits. Border security is one of five key national AI projects announced on Wednesday (Nov 13).


By 2030, lift breakdowns at public housing blocks could be a thing of the past, as town councils will use artificial intelligence (AI) to predict when a breakdown might occur and provide maintenance pre-emptively. With an automated marking system that is AI-enabled, teachers could also spend more time guiding students learning instead of burying themselves in piles of worksheets. The new strategy, which maps out how Singapore will develop and use AI to transform the economy and improve peoples’ lives, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the final day of the “Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) x the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) Conference”.


The aim of launching such a strategy is to make Singapore a global hub for developing and implementing AI solutions, ensure that the Government and companies use AI to generate economic gains and improve lives and to help the workforce here to be competent in an AI-driven economy. Singapore has committed over $500 million to digital technologies, including AI under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan. To boost AI talent here, Singapore also aims to train 25,000 professionals in basic AI coding and implementation by 2025.



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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales top $38 billion


After 24 hours of frenzied buying and selling, and weeks of aggressive advertising and promotions before it, the Alibaba Group said today its sales hit another record high on Singles’ Day, the biggest shopping day on the planet. The Chinese e-commerce giant said its platforms sold goods worth 268 billion yuan, or $38.4 billion today, easily exceeding last year’s record $30.7 billion haul.


Alibaba said it hoped Taobao, its main shopping portal where online store owners offer their wares, would attract more than 500 million users on November 11, or 100 million more than last year. Alibaba's cloud computing system, Aliyun, was processing 540,000 transactions per second at one point on Monday morning. Before 8 a.m., Alibaba's logistics arm had dispatched more than 100 million packages of preordered goods. The State Post Bureau said it expected to handle 2.8 billion packages this week, up a quarter from last year. That's two packages for every single person in China.


More than half of the merchants taking part in the shopping festival have gained growth from live streaming and more than 10 live broadcasts led to transactions of over 100 million yuan on Monday. For furniture and decoration as well as the consumer electronics industry, live streaming transactions increased by more than 400 per cent, according to a statement from Alibaba.



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Microsoft is using growth mindset to power management strategy

Microsoft roots its record performance in a simple cultural change: applying a growth mindset. And now, according to Joe Whittinghill, corporate vice president of talent, learning, and insights at Microsoft, told Business Insider, the tech giant is instilling growth mindset at scale through a new coaching initiative for its managers.  


Popularized by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, growth mindset speaks to the underlying belief that a person has about failure and success. Professionals who adopt the growth mindset put in extra time and effort to understand why they failed, and rebound from setbacks quickly, while those with fixed mindsets believe their successes and failures are inextricably tied to their personal identities. The key to higher achievement via the growth mindset lies in focusing on process more than ability and has quantifiable results for achievement.


"Everybody rolled up their sleeves together and came up with our revised definition of the role of managers at Microsoft," Whittinghill said. "It's to deliver success through empowerment and accountability by modeling, coaching, and caring." Each element of the new management model relates to Microsoft's overall emphasis on the growth mindset.

Modeling means to live the Microsoft culture and be a demonstrable example for employees. Coaching is about defining team objectives and helping the team adapt and learn. Caring is the part of the model that has been the most widely accepted and widely liked by employees and managers together, according to Whittinghill. 

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