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Blow, blow the Wind of Change!
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 14121
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AI without intelligence

The days of planning ahead of the curve, chasing the next trend and keeping a step ahead of our neighbours were the keys to Singapore's success in the 70s and 80s. From low skill manufacturing, Singapore moved ahead into the service sectors like banking and finance, medical services and of course shopping and retail trade under the name of tourism. Somehow after jumping onto the higher skills industries and services, it seemed that the story stopped right there, or nothing of substance came on to replace the growth sectors of the early decades of rapid economic growth.

For the last couple of decades, Singapore's economy has been in a limbo, ie around 2 to 3 percent growth as against the 5 to 7 percent growth rates of other Asean countries. And this seems to be the big success of Singapore, to claim big credit for such miserly growth rates and echoing the western media to denounce the 6.5 percent growth rate of China as if the Chinese economy is about to crash. Can't imagine what was going on in those silly heads that sneered at a US$13 trillion economy growing at 6.5 percent and praising a US$200b economy struggling at 2 to 3 percent.

And to add insult to injury, the miniscule growth rate was built on immigration, growing the population but not on productivity, and on a fictitious housing bubble with a 99 year lease that is coming to an end sooner than expected when the issue was totally ignored earlier, like the proverbial monkey covering its eyes, not wanting to see or to know.

One big mistake that is showing itself today is the big failure to recognise the importance of computer science, programming, software and artificial intelligence. With a highly educated population that boasted of pursuing a knowledge based economy, about higher education and intelligence, there is no intelligence or no one thought it an intelligent thing to focus our education in computer science and technology. The consequence, we need to import such talents or trained people from third world countries that have the intelligence to educate their people to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

Didn't they know that the computer related industries, the exploitation of information technology and artificial intelligence are very well suited to a highly educated population, an industry that requires little land and space and natural resources to grow as needed in manufacturing? Didn't they know that the 4th Industrial Revolution relies mainly on a pool of well trained manpower, using only the brains to conquer the world? Are our education system geared and transformed to go in this direction, to build a silicon valley here two decades ago?

The calls to build smart cities sounded so hollow when there are just not enough of such skilled people to take it forward as a national initiative, as the next economic engine of growth. This is an industry that a tiny island like Singapore can compete with big countries without being too badly disadvantage for short of land and natural resources. Software related products do not need large factories and warehouses to store the goods, do not need more natural resources and material to produce more products. The products are all in the air, in the clouds.

We have wasted a whole generation of people educated in the wrong fields and disciplines and are paying the price for it today. Our people are now good only as security guards and taxi drivers and table cleaners, armed with useless degrees and diplomas. The future is about AI but we don't have the intelligence to catch this early enough and are now miles behind even to third world countries. We missed the boats of googles, facebooks, twitters, whatsapp, wechats, alibaba, alipay, blockchains, uber, etc etc, and all the apps that are invading the world like a storm.

Our economy is still largely dependable on shopping malls, housing and rentals, foodcourts, hawker centres to survive. Any new ideas that could match the drive and creativity of the 70s and 80s, when the EDB and associated organisations were chasing new ideas, raring to go with big ideas of growth? Running out of ideas except spending money and resources barking at fake news?
what i posted is just my personal view. feel free to disagree.
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