June 25, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1816
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Digital Minister Tang, Deputy Minister Kao, Legislator Yu, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!
I am very excited to be here today to kick off what promises to be a very interesting and much needed discussion about the social implications of the coming digital age.
The United States and Taiwan for decades have had very close cooperation on technology. Since late 2015 we have been working tirelessly to bring our economic relationship into the digital age through the Digital Economy Forum and its implementing activities.
Most of our efforts have been focused on the business and startup side of things.
That’s good, but we also need to take a step back and understand how all of these new digital technologies – in particular artificial intelligence – will transform the societies in which we live.
Some experts argue AI and emerging digital technologies have the potential to be more disruptive than even the industrial revolution, fundamentally altering more than 90% of all work.
Some fear mass joblessness and social upheaval.
Optimists hope for a new era when humanity can explore its deeper meanings and cultivate its artistic and social creativity.
What will these changes mean for society, gender roles, democracy, workers, the elderly, rural areas, and those left behind? What policies should governments, industry, and academic institutions be adopting now to prepare for the world to come?
During today’s Symposium, we hope to ask the big questions and begin a much-needed discussion on challenges that are coming soon and how as a society we might best respond.
Now is the time to ask these big questions and start preparing solutions. These changes will come faster than any of us could imagine. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “AI will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so we need to get it right.”
We at AIT have been particularly inspired by the work of Digital Minister Audrey Tang on this front. She is pioneering, not only in Taiwan but globally, on how we can use emerging technologies to make governments more transparent and democratic and how digital social entrepreneurs can use technology to solve social problems.
This event is a follow-up event to her very successful Regional Summit on Social Innovation held on May 5-6 in Taichung.
We also would like to congratulate Legislator Yu on her launch last Friday of the Social Innovation Congress. Our Symposium today is the first activity of her Congress after its launch, and we look forward to working closely with her in the future on these issues.
We want the U.S. and Taiwan to not only be business partners in the digital age, but also partners in shaping an inclusive digital future that works for all.
I hope this event will continue a much needed conversation between governments, industry, academia, and social entrepreneurs. I am confident that if we all work together, we will find the answers and create a digital future that works for all.