The Coming Wars – The Discussion

What challenges lie ahead? The Coming Wars have to be fought now. With a world of disruption and change ahead, how do we prepare for things we cannot see? By S. Sakthivel

The brainSTORM session, The Coming Wars, brought a group of experienced members of the business community together, to talk about what lies ahead. The panellists weighed in on a mix of issues, ranging from artificial intelligence and digital revolution to global cities and government policies. Here are some tasty sound bites:

“We already have automation everywhere. It is replacing many functions in society and industry, from food service to the production line, but the downside is that jobs will be lost. Moving ahead, futurists say that machines will become self aware in the near future. They only understand logic. Will they develop a conscience?” — Benjamin Goh

“Everybody wants to reduce costs and increase profits. Big companies go where the money is. The world is getting smaller; the money just flows where the opportunities are. How much longer can Singapore be the most attractive location before someone else comes along?” — Lionel Leong

“We are now in the digital age, where information, and the knowledge within, is going to be key. That’s why big data and privacy are major issues this past decade. Your information is no longer private; it’s hard to keep it private because many organisations have access to them. You often give it to them willingly without knowing or asking what they intend do with that data. Businesses obviously want to collect data to target their audiences the best they can.” — Phillip Tan


“We are not developing learners, we are just feeding them information. Kids are taught what to think instead of how to think at university. This behaviour continues into adult life, we look for the government or elsewhere for solutions to problems instead of looking within and coming up with them ourselves. It makes us vulnerable.” — Dr. Tan Bee Wan

“Maybe the other issue is, we don’t know how to grow a business; it goes back to local institutions being very good at being clean, transparent and efficient at deploying capital, but going out taking a risk and looking for a new market and growing your business — that is a difficult step to take. Unlike Singapore, markets elsewhere can be a lot more unpredictable. There always seems to be a war between entrepreneurs and institutional bureaucrats.” — Mike Hagbeck

Read the full report on the discussion in STORM V27, available at Allscript, MPH, and Kinokuniya.

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