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Experts quench technology fears

Kazi Mahmood / Khmer Times Share:
The employee of a local IT firm at last year’s Career and Productivity Fair. KT/Chor Sokunthea

An IT revolution is simmering in the global sphere, aided by experts in tech-related fields who are looking into the possibilities of the future, particularly those presented by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We are living in exciting times. What the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Internet of Things (AIoT) will do for us in the future is a question that many are asking now.

In today’s world, waving at a wall to open a concealed door is the norm in some buildings, while cell phones can be used to alert owners of intruders at home.

But, increasingly, machines are talking to machines, in what it is being hailed as an IoT and AIoT revolution.

Last month’s Empiricon conference in Singapore, part of the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology, offered journalists the opportunity to pick the brains of leading experts.

Empiricon facilitated conversations about the role of deep tech in the distant future and what the world will look like in the year 2100.

In email replies to Khmer Times, Agnes Hugot, co-founder of Fast Track Trade, shared her thoughts on what is in store with future technologies.

“Connected networks will allow many services to be accessible to citizens and to people in remote places,” she says.

Ms Hugot, who holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Certified Public Accountant diploma from Pennsylvania State University, said, “The technology behind the scene will be diversely used with potential standards emerging.

“But the key is to organize interconnectivity of various networks,” she says.

Martin Lim, co-founder and chief operations officer at Electrify, is rather amused by the prospects.

“What’s your timeline?” he replies when asked how the future will be shaped by IoT, AIoT and related technologies.

“Molecular replication and fusion reactors would be great.

“But more reasonable would be artificial intelligence on a widespread mesh network: i.e., the Internet gains sentience. But it might not like us,” he warns.

Mr Lim has over 20 years of experience in the mass communications industry, having served as both the creative and strategic lead for a diverse range of clients ranging from small and medium enterprises to multinational companies.

His interests in energy and water management led him to found a company that develops water treatment systems for disaster relief.

The same question was thrown to other experts.

Chris Jensen, co-founder of Climate Conversations and senior developer at Raisely.com, says, “IoT and AIoT are merely the building blocks of the technology that will define our future – the attention economy.

“The question is whether we will reign in the ways that people’s attention is being hacked by technology, or whether technology will be allowed to continue to exploit vulnerabilities in the human operating system.”

Mr Jensen has led environmental outreach and engagement programmes in Singapore and Australia over the last 8 years.

He says the attention economy is shaping global events and our personal lives on a scale never imagined by neither optimists nor pessimists.

“I’m hopeful that advances like Apple’s Screen Time and other work will put control of our attention back into individual’s hands and will help us shape a future where everyone’s time is spent consciously and meaningfully.”

But it is Joelle Chen, regional head for Asia Pacific at the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), who steals the spotlight.

Prior to joining WorldGBC, Ms Chen was heading the Smart Sustainable Cities team at the Singapore Economic Development Board.

She says the exciting part in the tech of the future is that “it would be man plus machine, not man versus machine.”

But what about all those theories and paranoia regarding robots? Aren’t they taking over soon?

She says we should expect the future to be shaped by whichever tech enables us to live more productive and fulfilling lives.

“There will be improvements and new buzzwords and jargon. Fuzzy logic gave way to Artificial Intelligence; statistics gave way to data science; the Internet is giving way to blockchain…,” says Ms Chen.

“Can I have a robot that walks me down the street and helps me with my groceries?” she was asked.

“Perhaps a better case would be a robot that walks my dog down the street because I’d rather have my groceries delivered,” Ms Chen replied.

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