Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said he expects artificial intelligence-like technologies to disrupt the labor market but also opines that it won’t eliminate jobs completely.
At the Asia Tech x Singapore summit, Wong said, “In fact, technology can make humans more productive and create more jobs. I do not believe we will end up with a jobless future, a dystopian jobless future where machines take over humans for everything and humans become upset because technology can replace some tasks.”
The Asia Tech x Singapore summit includes participation from government officials, executives from global firms, and consumers for four days to discuss the technology’s role in the future.
Wong said, “What will change is the nature of jobs in blue and white-collar occupations and warned that the pace of change will accelerate; the scale of disruptions will increase with time. It can also make us more productive in performing other tasks. And by doing so, it will create new tasks and new jobs.”
Wong added, “Workers need to learn to adjust and adapt amid the impending disruptions stemming from AI. Understandably, this will create anxiety among those who are less able to adjust and adapt. All of us will do more to help workers refresh and update their skills so that they can stay competitive and relevant in an increasingly digital world.”
He stressed, “We cannot leave this for markets to take care of themselves. Neither can we say this is just the responsibility of employers alone. Regulators need to implement comprehensive support in the form of job matching and skills development. This will require concerted and proactive efforts on the part of governments, industry, and skills training providers.”
Wong concluded, “Singapore launched AI Verify, the world’s first testing toolkit, to help companies objectively assess and verify whether their AI products are responsible and meet international principles. The country will continue to work with the industry on pilot projects and drive the development of AI testing standards.”