Big data has great potentials, and in promoting its use, the government has a key role to play.
In Asian countries known for innovation such as Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, the government always takes the lead.
Their efforts go far beyond STEM (science , technology, engineering and mathematics) and college education, and also include on-the-job tech training.
Singapore, for example, set up the National Research Foundation in 2006 to study and plan its innovation policy. The city-state has stepped up efforts in this regard. In 2016, it pledged to invest S$19 billion in technology and academic research over five years.
In June last year, the Singapore government launched the Smart Nation initiative to transform the city into a global city through technology and digital innovation by 2023.
The city-state also required 20,000 civil servants, or 14 percent of its entire civil service staff, to take training courses in data science and analytics, encouraging them to utilize artificial intelligence and data to make decisions.
Singapore’s proactive approach and open attitude to embrace technology can be seen in its acceptance of Uber.
To take advantage of new technologies and help improve the services of its taxi industry, the Singapore government allows Uber drivers to legally operate in the city as long as they have two years of driving experience and have taken a 10-hour training course.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 1
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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