By Invitation

What does a Smart Society look like?

Openness to talent is vital to Singapore's ambition to become a Smart Nation. That requires a more holistic view of immigration that recognises a shared patriotism between local and imported talent.

Singapore's recent Smart Nation Innovations Week and its hosting of the World Cities Summit served as tangible reminders to Singaporeans and thousands of visitors that the country is perhaps the world's foremost living lab for widespread deployment of new technologies from fibre-optic Internet to online government services and, soon, autonomous vehicles.

The Government has moved quickly across a wide spectrum of areas, but has rightly begun to emphasise that a nation can only be as smart as its citizens. That is why Enterprise Singapore and other agencies have been experimenting in recent years with incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises to introduce productivity enhancements such as using new technologies and encouraging workers to take up upskilling courses. With a healthy but ageing population and high life expectancy, Singapore is arguably ground zero for putting the notion of lifelong learning into practice. This is how a smart nation becomes a smart society.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2018, with the headline 'What does a Smart Society look like?'. Print Edition | Subscribe