June 26, 2019
Remarks by AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene
at APEC O2O Summit
June 26, 2019
Deputy Minister Wang, Deputy-Director General Hu, Chief O’Byrne, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, zao an!
It is my great pleasure to be here today to help kick off this important O2O Summit under the auspices of APEC. As a former Chairman of APEC’s Economic Committee, I am a huge supporter of the forum, especially because it gives Taiwan a platform to engage as an equal with partners across the Indo-Pacific region. Today’s event focuses on two priority areas for U.S.-Taiwan cooperation, the developing the digital economy and promoting entrepreneurship.
This year the American Institute in Taiwan marks the 40th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which established AIT. Each month, we have highlighted different facets of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. The focus for June happens to be the Digital Economy and Technology. Our “AIT@40” campaign not only recognizes past accomplishments, but also looks at ongoing and future efforts, as exemplified by our motto “Strong Foundation, Bright Future.”（立穩根基，共創未來).
The digital economy has been the principal engine of global economic growth for the past several decades and holds the promise for a more prosperous future. One of the United States’ foremost experts on the technology sector, PC Magazine Editor-in-Chief Dan Costa, said the digital economy’s development is best understood by the successive waves of platforms. The first wave was the personal computer. On the basis of the PC, entire industries were built, efficiencies gained, and software developed. Costa identified the smart phone as the second wave. The pattern repeated. Its emergence changed everything and spawned countless companies, app developers, and conveniences. Costa says the next wave will be augmented and virtual reality. He believes this will revolutionize society once again.
It is true that today’s AR/VR headsets are big, clunky, and people look strange using them. But the same was true with the first mobile phones. It is just a question of time before the same technology fits within glasses little different than the ones I am wearing today. On the basis of that platform, entire industries will emerge. Online to offline business is a crucial link between all these digital platforms and our everyday lives.
Stanford computer science professor Timothy Chou argues the last thirty years were the Internet 1.0, primarily the consumer internet. He said the next thirty years will see the Internet 2.0, primarily the industrial internet. Though not typically viewed as such, the industrial internet itself is a perfect example of the online to offline interface, connecting digital technologies with manufacturing production. Factories used to be workers on machines. Now, it is engineers on dashboards monitoring smart machines. Already with some advanced manufacturing it is computer programmers monitoring the artificial intelligence which manages the smart machines. Soon entire supply chains from resource extraction, to manufacturing, to distribution, to final consumption will be optimized by artificial intelligence managing other layers of artificial intelligence. Advances in 5G, AI, and Quantum computing could usher in changes even science fiction has not imagined.
It’s difficult to not get excited about all of the possibilities, but there also great dangers. These technologies can be used to liberate or to oppress. That is why the United States believes it is vital that the development of new technologies and the standards that support and govern them – from B2B, P2P, or O2O or any other combination – be guided by the basic shared values of the rule of law, intellectual property rights protection, and transparency.
For the last seven decades, the United States has championed the global rules-based order. This order has fostered peace, stability and prosperity throughout the world, in APEC, and the broader the Indo-Pacific region and members of East Asian community. This order provides the institutional foundation for the success of all of the APEC economies gathered here today, and facilitates the space in which entrepreneurs can create and innovate. But this order depends upon everyone agreeing to play by the same basic rules of free and fair market competition.
This is apparent to Taiwan, which is why the United States considers Taiwan to be one of its most important APEC and Indo-Pacific partners. From our perspective, Taiwan is important not just because of its technological prowess, but also because of the core democratic values that we share. Taiwan faces many unique challenges, but it has risen to these challenges, and found a way to prosper without sacrificing these core values. It is for these reasons, among others, that many of America’s biggest technology firms have chosen to make Taiwan central to their hardware-software integration, research and development, AI, O2O and other digital economy pursuits. We believe that it is no coincidence that Taiwan’s impressive economic growth has gone hand-in hand with the flourishing of its democracy. It is why the United States is particularly keen to support Taiwan as it seeks to diversify its trade relationships and expand its trade and investment within APEC and across the Indo-Pacific.
Taiwan and the U.S. are working together to build capacity around the region and within APEC to bridge the digital divide, promote women’s entrepreneurship, and drive innovation in the digital economy. Through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, we work together on so much more, such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and public health. In short, Taiwan, as a valuable partner and a force for good in the world, has long been and must continue to be a full partner in global problem solving.