Workforce in More Than Half of Singapore Companies Not AI Ready

Singapore seems to be speeding ahead into an AI age with island-wide initiatives like Smart Nation. Yet a recent LivePerson research noted that only 44% of Singapore companies are actively retraining employees for “the age of automation.”

The research, which saw Tech Research Asia survey 500 Singaporean IT, customer and digital decision-makers, noted that Singaporeans are aware of the far-reaching impacts of AI. A majority of 98% said that they are taking steps "to mitigate the risk of negative outcomes and to plan for the ethical use of AI."

In fact, three in five companies (64%) said that they have AI standards or guidelines in place. This becomes vital as the Singapore government transforms the nation to be a global hub for test-bedding, deploying, and scaling AI solutions.

At the same time, AI is creating new fears. Lack of transparency in how important decisions are made (92%), unauthorized access to data (92%), and loss of privacy (91%) are chief among them.

While Singapore companies are concerned about an AI future, they do not seem to be doing much to prepare their employees for it. Based on the survey, only 44% are reskilling employees, 38% are consulting experts, 38% are creating best practice guidelines, 36% are reviewing global best practices, and 35% are conducting reviews. That means employees in more than 50% of companies will not be prepared to work in an AI-driven workplace. 

There is also an ongoing debate on who should be setting the regulations. The survey noted that 41% of companies think it is a government’s job. Thirty-three percent feel it should be industry bodies and associations, while 30% believe that global tech companies should shoulder the burden.

Interestingly, only 39% of businesses think it is ‘extremely important’ that AI systems comply with all relevant international and Singaporean regulations.

"As Singapore aims to become a thriving hub for AI in this region, in pursuit of its Smart Nation vision, we feel it is our duty at LivePerson as an enabler of this technology to highlight and drive the discussion. And as the founder and CEO of LivePerson, I would like to reiterate to other business leaders the need to foster an ‘ethical AI mindset.' This starts with developing a well-defined ethical AI strategy, as without this, AI will become the next digital technology that divides us. Ultimately, the technology industry, business, and government must work together to right the future," said Rob LoCascio, CEO and Founder of LivePerson.