Singapore is taking action on AI today. Here's why

How will AI impact our society? Singapore has a plan.

Singapore is taking action on AI today. Here's why
Photo Credit: Paul Mah

I was at the Opening Gala of the Asia Tech x Summit earlier this evening.

The guest of honour was the President of Singapore and here's what he said about the impact of technology and AI.

AI is moving really fast

Here are a couple of quotes from President Tharman.

  • "It's fair to say that the pace of advancement of AI and related technologies is far outstripping our public policy and regulatory responses... AI and related technologies around it are moving very fast."
  • "You can't leave [AI] to the law of the jungle... you will otherwise simply be letting might be right. And we will be letting whatever player emerges the largest to dictate the norms."

So we need AI regulation. But how can we go about doing it? Here's the key pointers shared:

  1. Succeeding with AI

What does it mean to get AI right? It means to get the most amount of good, while seeking to alleviate the worst of AI. This also means minimising the risks, such as working with those whose jobs will be displaced.

  1. Take action now

What we do now is critical. We cannot wait until after the fact to do something. We have to start shaping AI now. The future depends on what we do today.

  1. Governance as an enabler

Instead of thinking of regulations as a barrier, we should think of AI governance as an enabler for innovation.

  1. Collaboration is key

International collaboration is required for success This isn't optional and getting started here calls for the building of a broad coalition.


In closing, President Tharman called for quick action for early wins. This entails moving with great energy to gain momentum around what is attainable, such as in healthcare, education, or even food security.

Ultimately, we cannot know if more jobs will be created than lost to AI. However, we can double down on not just re-skilling, but the development of new skills.

But if there's one certainty, it would be this: The future depends on what we do today. And the time for action is now.