Opening remarks by S for IT at Digital Entrepreneur Leadership Forum 2018


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following are the opening remarks by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the Digital Entrepreneur Leadership Forum 2018: Embracing Change in the New Era of Artificial Intelligence today (February 1):

George (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, Dr George Lam), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. It is indeed a great pleasure to be back at Cyberport again to join you all at the Digital Entrepreneur Leadership Forum 2018, or DELF.

     Back in my days as CEO of Cyberport, DELF was known as Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum. A few years ago, DELF extended its scope and was renamed as the Digital Entrepreneur Leadership Forum. No matter what it is called, DELF has always been an excellent forum for industry professionals to share knowledge, experience, and forge collaborations. And most importantly, working together to take digital technology to the next higher level.

     I am glad to see an impressive line-up of speakers today, bringing their insights on artificial intelligence (AI), and how it may disrupt not only business models, but also the technology and investment ecosystems.

     Artificial intelligence is definitely today's global hot topic in innovation and technology.

It is, however, not until recent years that AI technology has made great strides, with the advancement of big data analytics and the ever better connectivity offered by the Internet. Nowadays, AI has a wide range of applications from finance and banking, to manufacturing and retail industry, to autonomous cars and medical diagnostics. Many of these applications only appeared in science fiction 60 years ago, when AI first started.

     Although some people may still find AI a technology buzz word beyond their knowledge, AI applications have become a significant part of our lives.

AI is now helping doctors diagnose certain cancers in just seconds, and mobile payment analytics has turned consumer behaviour statistics into predictive consumer spending patterns. AI makes autonomous driving possible and safe. And the list goes on.

     At a more strategic level, AI is driving the transformation of our society. In the public sector, it can help government enhance public services and improve city management. AI also fosters the development of Hong Kong into a smart city. Let me share with you some of the efforts of the Hong Kong SAR Government in this area. Leveraging Hong Kong's strengths and potential, the Government will focus on promoting AI and robotics alongside three other key technology areas, namely FinTech, healthy ageing and smart city. We will continue to support more government departments and public bodies to adopt AI technologies in their provision of services to embrace more innovation and technology. Under the Smart City Blueprint published in December 2017, we have committed to undertaking three major smart city infrastructure projects. These include building a new big data analytics platform to enable real-time data transmission and sharing among government departments. It will facilitate government departments in developing big data analytics and AI applications. This not only enhances the Government's capability in data analytics and delivering better services, but also provides more opportunities for the private sector to collaborate with government departments to develop more G2B and public-private-partnership or PPP solutions in the future.

     While the AI revolution will bring about immense opportunities and improvement to our society, some analysts have pointed out that it will also bring about structural changes to our employment market. A global consulting firm has suggested that as many as 40 per cent of existing professions will be rendered redundant in the next 10 years or so. But will AI technologies actually replace human beings and trigger a wave of job losses? I don't think so.

I believe the adoption of AI technologies will free up our labour force from the "dirty, dangerous and difficult" jobs, and create more job opportunities to upgrade our labour force to perform more higher-value-added work.

     Today's forum is an invaluable opportunity for technology entrepreneurs, business professionals, corporate decision makers and start-ups to explore the latest trends in AI application and investment, and collectively contribute to the fourth industrial revolution together. Before I close, I wish to quote a line from the movie "Terminator" - "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

     I wish the Forum every success and a fruitful exchange among all of you. Thank you very much.



Published on: 2018-02-01

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