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[BLOG] The truth behind the tech hype in Asia

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 5 years ago
  • Author:by Idris Mohamed

Singapore’s digital transformation is driven by the country’s vital need to create not only fast but sustainable growth. The government is supporting the innovative ambition of the industry so they can harness such technologies as data science and smart transportation to improve the country’s way of life.

Southeast Asia is home to a growing technology market that is drawing in young professionals and boasts a promising number of start-ups looking to make their home in Singapore. However, this technology ‘hype’ means that companies who want to be a part of it do so, without having a clear picture of what it is.

What are the common misconceptions with regards to AI technology?

Many companies already in Singapore or who are looking to expand into the region are already making impressive strides with new tech.  Let’s look at artificial intelligence. AI is pegged as a technology to change the world. It has opened discussions on how it can contribute to employment, health care, and how it will affect political data security.

Surprisingly, some professionals do not realise that a large portion of AI programmes that are up and running today are built for a very particular use, or are classed as narrow AI. An automated data processing system for example simply automates managing multiple spreadsheets.. This is an example of a narrow AI platform, but the extent of today’s capabilities stretches to a system with greater accuracy and advanced intelligence for a specific purpose in its sector.

This is not to say that AI won’t reach the potential that it is being tested to, but the rise and fall of some start-ups in Singapore can be jumping on board with such advanced analytics transformations and not fully being aware of what they have to do.

How can the market be better informed about new technology?

The industry and Singapore in particular have a fantastic opportunity to lead from the front of the tech hype and set the examples. As with any new technology it is all about providing the right education. A problem often experienced with analysing new technology is overestimating the short-term effects and underestimating the long-term solutions.

The more effective approach would be to teach all young tech innovators such tech as AI. Unless it is a specific career choice, professionals do not need to know how to build an AI system through coding, but the basics will allow knowledge of its capabilities and see its integration into multiple industries.

AI Singapore is a programme for students (A14S) that brings beginner data and programming skills to young adults.  The courses focus on AI research, technology and innovation, also providing courses to young children (AI4K – AI for kids).

This is an example of an initiative that will help the younger generations grow up with a realistic appreciation for the technology. Singapore is thriving in its reputation as a hotspot for innovative technology, especially AI. A growing pool of tech orientated talent and a unified investment in digital infrastructure, means the country is planting strong foundations for a sustainable, technology powered future.