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NISTH Ideas Challenge

NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH) is pleased to announce the NISTH Ideas Challenge: AI for Humanity, which aims to involve the entire campus community in mapping the fundamental issues and principles that would help guide the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the benefit of society and humanity.
Advances in technology are radically reshaping the human landscape. Although technology has always been a part of human civilisation, its pervasive influence and the speed of technological change today are propelling the world into a new era. As it has been so aptly described, the world is entering a “4th Industrial Revolution,” which creates tremendous opportunities as well as challenges for humans in this century. The development of AI has the potential to transform the global socio-economic order and to raise fundamental ethical questions about what it means to be human in a world whereby the boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological domains can no longer be clearly delineated.

At NTU Singapore, leading-edge research drives the University’s pursuit of excellence in education, innovation, and service to the community. In light of pressing challenges posed by the 4th Industrial Revolution, the University established NISTH in Februrary 2018; an interdisciplinary research centre that seeks to interrogate the impact of technology on society and to embed human interests in the process of innovation.  NISTH brings together a community of researchers from all disciplines who will initially focus on three main research themes: Responsible Innovation; Governance and Leadership in the 4th Industrial Revolution; and new urban Asia.
NISTH will be marking its official launch on March 11-12, 2019. A major component of the launch will be a roundtable on “AI for Humanity”, which includes thought-leaders from academia, industry, and government. The discussion will focus on the ethics and governance of AI, and how AI will reshape the future social and urban landscape. One expected outcome will be a “NISTH Statement on AI Ethics and Governance.” More details about the roundtable will follow soon.

As a part of this celebratory event, we are pleased to invite submissions for an ideas competition, the “NISTH Ideas Challenge: AI for Humanity.”



The competition seeks to identify key issues in a society that is increasingly reliant on AI, to understand the basic principles and guidelines required to ensure that AI fulfils its intended purpose and develop strategies to enhance the human condition, especially in a densely populated urban environment like that of Singapore.

All NTU faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in the NISTH Ideas Challenge. 
Entries may be in the form of an essay, a project proposal, or any other forms which address the theme of “AI for Humanity,” with special reference to ethical responsibility and governance of AI, and how AI impacts human lives in an urban setting. 
Entry Requirements
Submission in the form of an essay should not exceed five pages (double spacing, font size 12). Cross-disciplinary collaboration is strongly encouraged, although single authored submissions are also welcomed.  Only one entry per person will be accepted.


A panel of judges will be convened, who will assess the entries on the basis of their originality, feasibility, and potential impact. The competition will award three top prizes and three commendation awards:


  • First prize: cash award of S$5,000
  • Second prize: cash award of S$2,500
  • Third prize: cash award of S$1000
  • Three commendation awards: cash award of S$500 each
    The top three winners will be invited to participate in the  “AI for Humanity” roundtable on 11 March 2019, where they will be able to contribute to the formulation of the NISTH Statement on AI Ethics and Governance. They will also be invited, together with the commendation award winners, to present their ideas at a forum on the following day.

    Submission and Deadline

    All submissions are to be sent via email to, with the subject header “NISTH IDEAS CHALLENGE: AI for Humanity”

    The deadline for submission is 10 February 2019.​
NISTH is intended to galvanize discussion and research on the most pressing challenges facing humanity today.  The solutions to such challenges require both technological innovations and a deep understanding of their social and ethical implications. The latter, including the unintended consequences of technology, need to be carefully investigated if technology is to fulfil its intended function of creating a better future for humanity.
NISTH also supports the “One-NTU” initiative, which envisages a vibrant community of learners, teachers, scholars and innovators committed to realising the University’s core mission. Whatever roles we may play, whether as faculty, staff or students, we work as a team to contribute to a better tomorrow for Singapore and the world at large. Knowledge does not grow well in insularity, and the NISTH Ideas Challenge announced today hopes to bring the campus community together on a common intellectual journey towards positive change.

We look forward to your active participation in this event.

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