gov.sg recently released a chat bot which you can AMA with on Facebook messenger.
Besides giving you almost instant replies about anything under the sun, accurate or not, it can also advise you on who in the public service to harrass contact regarding your problem and point you to the relevant webpages just like Google, except it’s limited to government websites.
Curious about how useful this bot is, I decided to spend a Friday night checking it out like a blind date.
Some of its responses were irrelevant and completely on a wrong tangent, some were pre-programmed answers to attempt to give the bot a semblance of personality, and one reply was totally unexpected.
Here’s what the gov.sg bot says about:
1. Who it is and its past dating history: bot, single and available
2. Its age: secret, like a girl, although it doesn’t share its gender
3. Its purpose in life: to help citizens with queries 24/7/365
4. Its favourite things: red, Singa, being cheesy
By the way, this is its favourite colour #E4392B red. I have no idea what other dimensions the bot was referring to.
5. Its favourite MP: Grace Fu???
6. Artistic tastes: sci-fi and Xiaxue
7. What it is: tall, big and fast
8. Its exotic choice of animals: civets, monitor lizards and bats
9. Its opinion on where the future jobs in Singapore are: not a very accurate reply
10. How many people work for it: not accurate either leh…
11. And… the size of the Singapore reserves: US$ 174 billion dollars
Ok I had to verify this figure because I wasn’t sure if this bot was telling the truth, or actually misunderstood the question and gave a wrong answer?
Upon googling, I found that while MAS and Temasek manage S$343 billion and S$223 billion respectively, the size of government funds managed by GIC are not published to avoid letting others know the full size of Singapore’s reserves.
Knowing Singapore’s full reserves could entice others to speculatively attack Singapore in times of weakness to earn money by shorting the Singapore dollar (like how George Soros shorted the pound in 1992 and although the British government spent £27bn to buy back the pounds, it didn’t work).
But as MOF says on its website that it has been revealed that GIC manages well over US $ 100 billion, did the chat bot really spill the beans?