In a profound fireside chat at the Singapore FinTech Festival, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam delved into the significant implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across various sectors, emphasizing its potential to reshape job landscapes, societal functions, and even the hierarchy of jobs. The President highlighted AI’s unique ability to replace cognitive tasks, traditionally undertaken by more educated and higher-income individuals, and its potential to disrupt the traditional hierarchy of jobs.
President Shanmugaratnam discussed the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) over intellectual quotient (IQ) in the future job market, as AI is likely to efficiently perform many IQ-centric tasks. He emphasized the need for technology to help humans flourish, addressing the distributional consequences of AI and ensuring its ethical application, especially in critical sectors like healthcare and financial services.
The President also noted the potential for AI to address global challenges such as the ongoing tech talent crunch. He stressed the importance of reskilling displaced workers and using technology to enhance productivity and job satisfaction.
Highlighting the potential risks associated with AI, including threats to national and global security, President Shanmugaratnam called for focused attention on the worst possible outcomes and international collaboration to manage these risks. He pointed out the need for ethical guidelines in healthcare and financial services to ensure that AI’s role remains beneficial and in the interest of individual patients and consumers.
Addressing the technological innovation for the aging population, President Shanmugaratnam emphasized the role of technology in enabling people to live life fully in their later years. He discussed the potential of AI in healthcare, enhancing the roles of nurses and care professionals, and the opportunities for continuous learning and contribution by the senior population. The President advocated for a less ageist society, highlighting the value of seniors in the workforce.
On the topic of the global tech talent crunch, President Shanmugaratnam noted the need for public-private-labor union coordination to address workforce challenges posed by AI. He emphasized the importance of reskilling and using technology to enable productivity and job satisfaction.
President Shanmugaratnam also spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce and the need for a culture that values lifelong learning and recognizes the intrinsic qualities of individuals.
In his concluding note, Shanmugaratnam emphasized the role of the Singapore FinTech Festival in fostering international collaboration and addressing complex global challenges. He highlighted the festival’s distinctive composition, including diverse representation from both the developing and advanced countries and its strength in thriving on diversity in FinTech and innovation.