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AI and climate change are most 'complex and important challenges' faced by global community, says President Tharman

Nicole Lim
Nicole Lim • 2 min read
AI and climate change are most 'complex and important challenges' faced by global community, says President Tharman
The President was speaking at the opening gala of the fourth edition of ATxSummit, which will see attendance of global AI companies like openAI. Photo: Bloomberg
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Healthcare, food security, fraud detection, education and finance are areas where we can have “early wins” with artificial intelligence (AI), says President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the opening gala of the fourth edition of ATxSummit on May 29. 

This will help to give confidence to the public that we are on the right track and [AI] is not uncontrollable, he adds. The president was speaking at the country’s flagship tech event organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), which will draw over 3,000 attendees from 55 countries. 

“It’s going to be hard, steering AI to deliver the most good and prevent the worst, [that and] climate change is probably going to be the most complex and important challenge facing the global community,” says President Tharman. “And with the most profound consequences if we get it right or wrong.”

In a bid to foster more global collaboration and cooperation, ATxSummit will see some of the biggest names in the global AI industry and regional leaders in attendance. Chief technology officer of OpenAI Mira Murati, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, are among those who will be present. 

Earlier today, Singapore launched the Digital Enterprise Blueprint (DEB) to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) harness the power of digital technologies to drive the digital economy. It is expected that at least 50,000 SMEs are expected to benefit from the DEB over the next five years.

President Tharman notes that the pace of advancement in AI and its related technologies are far outstripping public policy and regulatory responses. It is therefore not realistically achievable to avoid the risks of bad outcomes altogether, he says. 

See also: DBS equips its customer service officers with gen AI-powered virtual assistant

“That has to be our frame of mind, trying to get the most good, but accept that there will be bad outcomes,” he adds. “Ultimately, it's not about the technologies, its all of us, scientists, engineers, policymakers, private operators, labour leaders, civil society, whose decisions, disagreements and hopefully growing affinity with each other because of our common interests will determine the cause of humanity."

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