Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), has warned Singapore society about the rapid changes in current technology, especially the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
He expressed concern about the current education system not preparing Singaporean children to cope with a world that has changed so fundamentally, irrevocably, and unrecognizably.
“The future is here, and it is absolutely scary or exhilarating, depending on how you look,” he said, adding that Singaporeans must deal with this change regardless.
In a recorded video uploaded to his official Facebook page, Dr Chee highlighted the possibility that entire professions, like programming, the legal profession, teaching, and even medicine, might be disappearing or being drastically altered by AI.
He noted that today AI is not just a super-fast computer that’s able to retrieve information in mere seconds, but also about programs and technology that “learn, teach themselves, imagine, create, compose, and even lie”.
“It computes information, in other words, it can think 100,000 times faster than the human brain. ”
He recalled that decades ago, he already raised the alarm that Singapore’s education system was not preparing its children to cope with changes in the world.
“I talked about how our system just forces our students to memorise and do rote learning and then regurgitate all the information when exams come. We’re really testing students on our memorization skills on this score. How do we expect to beat Google? ”
But fast forward to today, AI is now making Google search look like a kindergartener.
“And yet, in all this time, very little has changed about our education system. ”
He worried that Singapore is not preparing its children to cope with the changes.
Dr Chee criticised PAP for “dumbing down” Singaporeans
Dr Chee went on to express his disappointment that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is “dumbing down” Singaporeans.
“The Chan Chun Sing, Lawrence Wong, the Shanmugam, who have so much vested in keeping society the way that it is, also the ones that we look to initiate change. ”
While the future “looks frighteningly bleak”, he said we are not helpless, and he remain hopeful that Singaporeans will find enough sense and enough courage to want to see change and reform in our society.
With a couple of elections coming up soon, he said that this is where we need to come together and have a national conversation.
In addition, Dr Chee also offered the public to visit his restaurant, Orange and Teal, to give people the opportunity to come together for intelligent discussion and intense debate.