Work with, not against Big Tech to improve lives and drive innovative solutions: Teo Chee Hean

31/5/2022 5:18:00 PM

Work with, not against Big Tech to improve lives and drive innovative solutions: Teo Chee Hean

Digitalisation, Digital Economy

Work with, not against Big Tech to improve lives and drive innovative solutions: Teo Chee Hean

SINGAPORE: With technology becoming increasingly indispensable and critical to how societies function, countries should work with Big Tech, instead of going against it, so that they can improve people’s lives, said Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday (May 31).

“Over time, the network effect, amplified especially by the instantaneous power and reach of the Internet, has meant that a handful of big tech corporations, the most innovative and entrepreneurial ones, have amassed immense influence,” he said.“The digital giants now form the infrastructural backbone of an ever-expanding tech universe, serving as the interface of every interaction. If we decline to share our data or accept cookies, what alternatives do we realistically have, or will we be crowded out of the digital space?”

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Speaking at the Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) Summit Social, Mr Teo said global tech leaders and policy shapers need to grapple with how to strike a balance between seamless access and the need for stronger security and privacy; and consider if the digital world will become more integrated or divided.The Chinese government, alone among major countries in vowing to eradicate the coronavirus within its borders, is on track to spend more than US$52 billion (S$71 billion) this year on testing, new medical facilities, monitoring equipment and other anti-Covid measures, which will benefit as many as 3,000 companies, according to analysts.However, the headwinds that many disruptive companies face do bear uncanny similarities with the events in 2000.Operating in diverse markets, from developed, orderly Singapore to the traffic-clogged streets of Jakarta and Manila, Grab faces unique challenges (AFP/Roslan RAHMAN) Roslan RAHMAN Yahoo News is better in the app Keep up to speed at a glance with the Top 10 daily stories 4 4 Tan co-founded Singapore-headquartered Grab, a household name in Southeast Asia, in 2012 and now oversees hundreds of engineers (AFP/Roslan RAHMAN) Roslan RAHMAN As co-founder of multi-billion dollar ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab, Tan Hooi Ling is already smashing stereotypes in tech but she's also trying to blaze a trail for the next generation of female entrepreneurs in the industry.

“Over time, the network effect, amplified especially by the instantaneous power and reach of the Internet, has meant that a handful of big tech corporations, the most innovative and entrepreneurial ones, have amassed immense influence,” he said. “The digital giants now form the infrastructural backbone of an ever-expanding tech universe, serving as the interface of every interaction. China aims to have Covid testing facilities within 15-minutes' walk of everyone in its big cities and continues to impose mass testing at the slightest sign of an outbreak. If we decline to share our data or accept cookies, what alternatives do we realistically have, or will we be crowded out of the digital space?” The solution, he said, is to work with, and not against Big Tech. A high valuation generally means investors are paying money today for profits that might not materialise for years into the future. “These platforms are a force for good and the betterment of our lives, connecting underserved populations across the globe. The government is footing the bill for the vast majority of this, either by buying test kits or paying companies to do tests. They also drive investments towards even more innovative solutions and applications." Globally, tech firms suffer from a serious gender imbalance, with a study from consultancy Accenture and NGO Girls Who Code showing the proportion of women working in the sector is now smaller than in 1984.

” Related: PM Lee welcomes Canada’s application to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement GLOBAL CONSENSUS ON RULES AND NORMS To better facilitate stable, secure and consistent online interactions across societies, Mr Teo also called on countries to work towards global consensus on rules, norms and standards. First-quarter profit more than doubled for Hangzhou-based Dian Diagnostics Group, one of China's biggest medical test makers. For instance, yet-to-be profitable Sea Limited was valued at 21 times annual sales in 2020. “Consumers and businesses will benefit from reduced compliance costs, easier market access, and better and more affordable services,” he said. He pointed to how countries have already started to make their own rules or congregate into different blocs. Rival Adicon Holdings, which received about US$300 million of mostly government money for its Covid tests over 2020 and 2021, according to the company's financial statements, has applied for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange. “Companies would face a fragmented landscape across different markets, and consumers would face hurdles or end up with the inconvenience of paying higher prices as they look for integrated global services.30 for every dollar of 2021 revenue that Sea Limited could make this year .” “Such disparate regulatory initiatives could splinter the digital world,” he said. China defends its 'zero-Covid' policy as crucial to saving lives and preventing its healthcare system from being overrun. "That's the role I'm hoping to play — to help create more of these environments where I was fortunate enough to grow up," she adds.

“Quite apart from the lack of consensus on how to draw up the rules and regulations globally, lack of trust amongst the stakeholders also exacerbates the situation.” Even if major countries are unable to reach consensus, Mr Teo said small states have the agency to act. The latest indicators show the country's economy has weakened sharply since March, as employment, consumer spending, exports and home sales have been hit by stringent lockdown measures that clogged highways and ports, stranded workers and shut factories. Sea Limited is not alone. For instance, he said like-minded countries could work together on digital economy agreements that align digital rules and standards. “These will facilitate greater interoperability with protocols, gateways and bridges between digital systems for cross border digital trade and data flows,” said Mr Teo, adding that Singapore has concluded four such agreements with five countries including Australia and South Korea.8 per cent growth. “Just as we have building safety codes or traffic rules, we need to devise new ways to maintain the security and resilience of our systems,” he said. Spread sheet for Grab valuation attached. Story continues And in the United States, video game giant Activision Blizzard is under investigation over accusations the firm condoned a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.

“This will encourage consumers and businesses to be more willing and ready to embrace the benefits of new waves of technological innovation, with confidence and trust that they will be secure, and that their privacy will be respected and protected. Investors are uncertain how long the boom will last for companies like Dian, Adicon and Shanghai Runda, whose fortunes are closely tied to government spending.” Source: CNA/vl(ac) .