AI and machine learning skills: DBS and Amazon Web Services join forces in Singapore

The DBS Bank logo is seen on a building in the Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore on June 19, 2020.

By U2B Staff 

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DBS, a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services corporation, is collaborating with Amazon Web Services in order to upskill 3000 employees (including those in senior leadership positions) with skills in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

This upskilling initiative, called DBS x AWS DeepRacer League, will be done through gamified learning where DBS employees will learn the basics of AI and ML through a series of hands-on online tutorials.

Their new knowledge and skills in machine learning and AI will be put to the test by programming their own autonomous model race car which will then be used in a virtual league.

According to Business Times Singapore, “These ML models will be uploaded onto a virtual racing environment where the employees can experiment and iteratively finetune their models as they engage each other in friendly competition.”

This new collaboration is part of DBS’ efforts to scale up its digital learning tools and platforms so that employees can upskill even if they’re not physically in the office, and accelerate the use of emerging technologies like AI and machine learning across its business.

Paul Cobban, Chief Data and Transformation Officer at DBS, said: “As a technology company that provides banking services, we are keenly aware of the need to stay ahead of the technology curve to continue exceeding our customers’ expectations. We have never believed in limiting digital expertise to a small team. Instead, we passionately believe in democratising technology skillsets among all employees, so that they can run alongside the company as we advance on our digital transformation together.

“Additionally, we wanted to adopt a different approach from our previous digital and data skills revolutions. In line with our ethos of keeping work and learning fun, we sought to introduce gamification elements to better engage our employees, and the AWS DeepRacer League platform presented the perfect opportunity.”


Smaller corporate AWS DeepRacer Leagues have been organised in other parts of the world, but the DBS x AWS DeepRacer League is the largest among Asian-headquartered enterprises and one of the first in the world to be organised at scale by a financial institution.

Those who demonstrate a keen interest and passion for machine learning and AI skills are encouraged to go beyond the DBS x AWS DeepRacer League and participate in global competitions.

Ray Goh, Executive Director of Technology & Operations at DBS, emerged global champion in the recent virtual AWS DeepRacer League F1 ProAm Event run in May 2020, beating Renault F1 Team driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Plus, another four DBS employees were placed in the global Top 20, and a total of six employees have qualified for the AWS DeepRacer Championship Cup to be held in Las Vegas at the end of the year.

Goh said: “When I first got involved with the AWS DeepRacer on my own last year, it was to satisfy my own hunger to learn more about AI and ML. I wanted to challenge myself by participating in the AWS DeepRacer League, but I certainly did not expect to come this far! I’m delighted to be able to do Singapore and DBS proud, and more importantly, to inspire my colleagues to join me in developing a deeper level of mastery in AI and ML, which are both important skills for the bank and the digital economy.”