Let's not take AI lightly

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another form of disruptive technology and it deserves more attention now.

The media around the world has been abuzz with talk about AI making a wide range of jobs redundant.

While many think that change is still far off and that the dystopia is exaggerated, it is never too early to prepare our populace for the impact of AI (Please stop saying I'll be replaced by a robot; April 23).

At present, robots have attained the level of intelligence where they help more than harm - they improve efficiency in manual tasks and augment our capacity for information and data processing.

In the next couple of years, this symbiotic work relationship between man and machine is likely to continue.

This phase of generative AI will help us act with greater precision and make better decisions.

The final call still lies with humans, and the human touch will still be needed.

But when intuitive AI robots with a learning capacity that far exceeds that of man's are developed, they could very well make humans redundant in many jobs.

It is essential to talk about the augmented economy and the necessary industrial restructuring and educational reforms that need to be made, which will equip our workforce and prepare our younger generation for the challenge ahead.

Ethel Tan Hui Yan (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2017, with the headline 'Let's not take AI lightly'. Print Edition | Subscribe