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AI excites and worries Singapore youths

Nayela Deeba | March 13, 2017
Youths in Singapore want AI to help improve productivity but are concerned about AI’s impact on security and jobs

AI brain
Credit: GraphicStock

A study by Microsoft revealed that youths in Singapore are most excited about innovation around artificial intelligence (AI).

They expect AI and other emerging technologies to help them increase their productivity; facilitate the way they connect with people they work with; and improve their physical and mental health.

 As such, they believe that AI will greatly improve their lives through connected or driverless cars (43 percent), software robots (40 percent) that drive productivity, and robots as social companions (11 percent).

These findings were part of the 'Microsoft Asia Digital Future' study, which surveyed 1,400 youths in Asia Pacific, including 100 in Singapore. The study aims to find out what youths forsee to be the most exciting technology innovation and their potential impact on their future.

Singapore Youths' concerns about AI
Singapore youths' perception of the digital future. Credit: Microsoft

Despite the excitement towards AI, youths in Singapore worry about the security and privacy (38 percent) of AI technology. They also are concerned that AI will take away jobs (30 percent) and cause relationships to become too impersonal (15 percent).

"The top concern by youths in Singapore reflects the growing importance of security and privacy in today's digital world. People don't use technology that they don't trust, and as technological advances continue to permeate our daily lives, security and privacy will need to be prioritised in order to foster a safe environment for technology to realise its potential of building a better future for everyone," said Nobuhiro ito, Director of Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft Singapore.

The study also found that three in 10 youths in Singapore felt that their country is not ready to adapt to digital disruptions. They felt that their government needs to:

 

  • Create conducive business environments to encourage start-ups (33 percent);
  • Make future technology innovations affordable and accessible (33 percent); and
  • Ensure schools prepare students with the right skills to fully leverage future innovations (29 percent).

 

They also said that public-private partnerships (31 percent) were key in driving innovation, ahead of the public sector or the government (30 percent) making the push alone.

 

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