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Commentary: A while more before robots and artificial intelligence run our lives for us

7 1 8

SINGAPORE: The last several months have seen Singapore swept up in an enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI).

In April, NTU engineers succeeded in building a robot that could assemble an IKEA chair. And over the last few months we’ve heard much about “Nadine” – an AI with a human face, designed to respond to human speech and emotions.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently flagged AI as an area Singapore is making good progress developing frontier technologies in, noting especially Alibaba’s establishment of a joint research institute at NTU.

But beyond these headline-making, attention-grabbing events, how likely is it that AI will be transforming our lives in the near future?


The discussion about AI is almost always dominated by either “techno-optimists” or the “doomsayers”.

For the former, AI will solve all the world’s problems, bringing wealth, new jobs, new industries, and even strengthen social cohesion; for the latter, robots pose a threat to people’s livelihoods and ways of life.

But both these views take on faith the underlying idea that AI is coming, sooner or later, like it or not. These positions leave very little room for reasoned consideration of how transformative AI may really be.

Despite AI’s widely publicised........

© Channel NewsAsia