Embrace technology as it can liberate us

Mr Lee Teck Chuan paints a rather gloomy picture of the all-encompassing influence of technology ("Sweeping changes in tsunami of technology"; July 25).

Most of us benefit from the convenience that technology brings.

People have a fear of change. Advancements in science can be unsettling, since humans prefer order, rules and regulations, and do not relish disruptions.

Man's intelligence is seen as natural or borne of sound reasoning. Artificial intelligence (AI) is viewed with great suspicion, and even fear, because computers can think and imitate our functions, thus having the propensity to destroy jobs that were previously reliant on workers.

We must remember that human beings have historically adapted to developments in science and technology, and continue to master them, instead of being overwhelmed by them.

Advocates of AI in medicine are not claiming that technology will take over the role of doctors any time soon.

However, as AI systems get more intelligent, the line between computers recommending the course of treatment and making decisions may become blurred.

The concerns of doctors about how far technology has encroached on their turf is understandable.

But AI aims not to replace conscious human reasoning. Rather, it enables physicians to arrive at better decisions, using the computer's cognitive capabilities to assist their fine minds.

Rather than be afraid that computers might destroy us, we should appreciate how technology works with and for us. It may even launch humans to greater accomplishments than we could previously imagine.

As AI is stronger, faster and more accurate, the unfounded fear is that machines which can think and copy our behaviour may one day take control of society, like in the movies.

We must, on the contrary, embrace technology because it possesses the power to liberate us.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock