AI will have biggest impact on us, say Thai youths
But many or still worried about job losses and security concerns
Youth in Thailand rank artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) as the most exciting technology innovations that will affect their lives, according to recent survey findings by Microsoft.
Thai youths also expressed a number of concerns involving the impact of technology on everyday life — namely the loss in job opportunities, relationships growing impersonal and the rising threat to security and privacy in the digital world, said the report.
In the Microsoft Asia Digital Future Survey, 1,400 youths were polled across the Asia-Pacific region, including 100 from Thailand. Other countries involved in the survey were Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.
AI involves the creation of intelligent machines or services that work and react like humans — a feature that is now increasingly found in almost everything from translation services to virtual assistants to video games. Leveraging the potential of AI to execute tasks such as data analytics, speech recognition and problem solving, people can be empowered to achieve more and yet do less.
IoT, on the other hand, refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects connected to the internet and the communication that occurs between these objects and other devices and systems. This includes everything from street sensors and home appliances to wearables and vehicles.
According to the survey, youths anticipate AI will offer the biggest improvement in their lives in three areas: Connected or driverless cars (46 per cent), software robots that improve productivity (25 per cent) and robots as social companions (20per cent).
On the other hand, they expect IoT to improve lives the most in three other ways: Smart homes where appliances can “talk” to one another (42 per cent), traffic systems that can adjust in real-time to mitigate road conditions (24 per cent) and smart buildings that can optimise energy usage according to changes in weather and number of occupants (24 per cent).
The second-ranked technology that youths are most excited about is virtual/mixed/augmented reality.
Augmented reality involves creating or placing a virtual world inside the real world, while virtual reality is about creating a feel of a real world inside a virtual world. Mixed reality combines both elements, where a user can navigate through the real world interacting with virtual objects and real life notions such as “depth”.
The survey found that youth are looking forward to future technologies to help them to facilitate the way they connect with people that they work with, improve their physical and mental health, and make them more employable.
According to Siriporn Pajharawat, director of Developer Experience & Platform Evangelism (DX) Group, Microsoft Thailand, more than 60 per cent of the world’s youth are in Asia Pacific and this region will be a hotbed for the world’s digital revolution.
“AI, IoT combined with virtual/mixed/augmented reality, provide incredible digital transformation opportunities for nations and organisations to carve an exciting new future for all of us.”
While 70 per cent of youths surveyed in Thailand feel that their country is ready to adapt to digital disruptions, they also aired a number of major concerns, including potential loss of jobs (30 per cent), relationships becoming too impersonal (29 per cent) and security and privacy (17 per cent).
“The high concern by youth around the potential loss of jobs reflects how it is critical for countries around the world to focus on equipping everyone with the relevant digital skills for the 21st century workplace,” Siriporn added.
“Also noteworthy is the awareness of security and privacy issues, which are growing in both importance and prevalence in today’s digital landscape. With more and more devices becoming interconnected, a single vulnerability may lead to damages on a scale never before possible, and every stakeholder across society — from researchers and developers to end users — must work together and act responsibly to uphold safety and privacy for everyone.”
To get ahead, they feel a top priority is to ensure schools prepare students with the right skills to fully leverage future innovations, followed by making future technology innovations affordable and accessible, and creating conducive business environments to encourage start-ups.