Microsoft is partnering with the government of Singapore on what it calls its “Conversations as a Platform” to explore opportunities in co-creating next-generation digital government services for a Smart Nation.

As part of this partnership, the Singapore Government will explore next-gen government services based on chatbots for selected public services where appropriate.

These chatbots will function as “digital representatives,” simulating human behavior in order to make interactions simpler, more efficient, and more consistent, said Microsoft.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Microsoft will explore new computing proof-of-concept (POC) that builds conversational intelligence into public services, with the aim of making them more anticipatory, accessible, engaging and inclusive for citizens and constituents, Microsoft said.

According to Microsoft, the POC, which will be implemented in three phases, will involve intelligent chatbots, and users will be able to converse with and call upon any applications within a single website to complete tasks. It will also explore potential future scenarios, including services that cater to a multi-lingual and multi-generational population.

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“I believe there are more intuitive ways for government services to be delivered to our citizens. Everybody expects responsive and personalized interactions in real time. The recent quantum improvement of natural language processing means that ‘conversations’ will be the new medium. This joint research project with Microsoft to demonstrate the utility of conversational computing for public services will be all the more pertinent,” said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative.