Singapore celebrates its 51st National Day today. For a small city-state, it had many odds to fight against. Many people thought Singapore won't make it. Yet we did, through sheer determination and diligence. What will our future look like?
In his National Day message delivered yesterday, Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong expressed confidence that Singaporeans will "hold together and succeed". He also pointed out three challenges Singapore faces:
- extremist terrorism
- globalisation and technological change
- societal changes
PM Lee elaborated on the second challenge that technological changes require industries to "innovate or die". He emphasised that our workers face competition not just from abroad, but from computers and robots too.
I can't agree more with PM Lee. Robots are already here and are getting smarter each day. They are commonly found in modern factories and are now entering the offices too. We now have robotics process automation, to automate business processes that used to be done by white-collar workers.
Our workers have to get smarter and upskill, so that they can do jobs that robots can't. Just as industrialisation replaced manual jobs in factories, this new era of robotics will bring about higher-paying work and advanced technologies that will enhance our lives further. We have to learn to work with robots and make technology work for us.
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