Singapore youths foresee artificial intelligence to have biggest impact on their future: Microsoft survey

Singapore youths foresee artificial intelligence to have
biggest impact on their future: Microsoft survey
Youths want technology innovations to increase their productivity, but concerns remain over impact on their security and privacy, and potential job losses

Artificial intelligence emerged as the most exciting technology innovation that Singapore youths foresee to make the biggest impact on their future. Click here to view the full infographic.

SINGAPORE, 21 February 2017 — Microsoft today unveiled findings from a new study, which revealed that the technology innovation youths in Singapore are most excited about, and expect to have the biggest impact on their future isartificial intelligence (AI). This is followed by the Internet of Things (IoT) in second place and virtual/mixed/augmented reality in third place. The study, titled the Microsoft Asia Digital Future Survey, was conducted with 1,400 youths aged 18 to 24 in Asia Pacific, including 100 youths in Singapore, to understand what they foresee to be the most exciting technology innovation, and the potential impact it could have on their digital future.

In a world that is becoming increasingly digitalised, new and emerging innovations will continue to disrupt the way we live, work and play. With today’s youths being the driving force for tomorrow’s economy, it is more pertinent now than ever before for youths to embrace new technology innovations, in order to be able to leverage technology effectively in the future.

Ranked as the top technology innovation youths in Singapore expect to have the biggest impact on their lives, artificial intelligence (AI) involves the creation of intelligent machines or services that work and react like humans – a feature that is now increasingly found in almost everything from translation services to virtual assistants to video games. In recent years, the confluence of power devices, cloud and data has also enabled bold visions on how AI can be an integral part of our digital future.

“We are delighted to see youths in Singapore being excited by technology innovations and the benefits that they can realise. In recent editions of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Singapore, our youths have been leveraging AI and IoT to create new innovations such as Ruth the social robot, and the Mozter mosquito monitoring platform. As youths in Singapore are increasingly exposed to these emerging technologies, we hope that they will continue to embrace new technologies, and leverage them boldly to create their own innovations for tomorrow’s smart economy,” said Nobuhiro Ito, Director of Developer Experience and Evangelism, Microsoft Singapore.

Findings from the Microsoft Asia Digital Future Survey also revealed that youths in Singapore anticipate AI to make the biggest improvements to their lives through:
1.     Connected or driverless cars (43%)
2.     Software robots that improve productivity (40%)
3.     Robots as social companions (11%)
In addition, the survey found that youths are looking to AI and other emerging technologies to help them:
1.     Increase their productivity 
2.     Facilitate the way they connect with people that they work with
3.     Improve their physical and mental health

Youths in Singapore are also looking forward to seeing AI and other emerging technologies:
1.     Create new jobs and industries (28%)
2.     Improve people’s health (27%)
3.     Improve national infrastructure (24%)

Youths in Singapore desire to see technology innovation create new jobs and industries, improve people’s health and infrastructure.

Preparing for disruption
While youths in Singapore are excited about the potential impact of technology innovation on their future, three in 10 youths felt that their country is not ready to adapt to digital disruptions. To get ahead, they felt that the top priorities are to:
1.   Create conducive business environments to encourage start-ups (33%)
2.   Make future technology innovations affordable and accessible (33%)
3.   Ensure schools prepare students with the right skills to fully leverage future innovations (29%)

In addition, youths in Singapore feel that public-private partnerships (31%) were key in driving innovation, ahead of the public sector or the government (30%); and technology start-ups (23%) making the push alone.

Public-private partnerships were deemed by youths in Singapore to be the most effective way to drive innovation.

Top concerns surrounding new technologies
In terms of the areas of concern surrounding new technologies, the survey revealed that the top concerns youths in Singapore have around the increasingly digital world include:
1.     Security and privacy (38%)
2.     Potential loss of jobs (30%)
3.     Relationships becoming too impersonal (15%)

“The top concern by youths in Singapore reflects the growing importance of security and privacy in today’s digital world. People don’t use technology that they don’t trust, and as technological advances continue to permeate our daily lives, security and privacy will need to be prioritised in order to foster a safe environment for technology to realise its potential of building a better future for everyone,” added Ito.

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