KUALA LUMPUR: Closer cooperation between the government and private sectors on artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs) and big data would raise Malaysia’s competitiveness, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC).
Chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said it is important for the government to leverage on digital technology to improve efficiency and productivity for a business model.
She said businesses can also capitalise on digital technology to maximise their earnings, which in turn would provide tremendous impact to the growth of the local economy.
“IoT is not about job replacement, but it is to augment the job scope. IoT, AI and other forms of innovation is not only about the government's role. Instead, it is to ensure there is an enabling ecosystem leveraging on all forms of innovations,” she said at a forum titled ‘How can Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things Supercharge Growth, Innovation and Job Creation?’ in Kuala Lumpur, today.
Yasmin said small medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporates need to pursue innovations for higher level of accuracy and competency.
“Currently there are pockets of extremely cutting edge adoptions like the medical sector uses AI to bring higher level of accuracy for diagnosis,” she added.
However, she said Malaysia is still in a catch-up mode and requires all players to step up their adoption level across the private and public sectors.
“There is a great appetite from the new workforce like the millennials who are demanding for innovations to be adopted.
“However, there is a bit of glass ceiling due to uncertainty of the technology, particularly among the top and mid managements who are not digital native but they are still digital migrants,” she said.
MDEC said government's role is to enable young talent to have exposure in technology, provided by the connectivity and availability of the policy framework that are flexible enough to nurture and encourage innovations.
“One of the areas of IoT that we feel has immediate potential of great impact in terms of IoT and AI is to reduce foreign workers dependency in Malaysia, which is becoming a social economic issue.
“For example, manufacturing sector can use IoT sensor that links it to a cloud base system and apply the element of data analytic and AI. Hence, it can reduce the intake of foreign worker and increase the accuracy of its quality assurance,” she said.
World Bank representative to Malaysia, country manager, Faris Hadad-Zervos said the forum was another step of partnership with MDEC and on-going work to unlocking the potential of Malaysia digital economy.
“There is limited adoption of advanced digital technology by businesses, which potentially limiting the economic impact of the digital economy in the country.
“The adoption of digital technology across the public and private sector, manufacturing and services are key factors of enabling the growth of productivity for Malaysia needs,” he said.
Faris said Malaysia's next challenge and opportunity is to ensure digital infrastructure can bring the critical mass of its individuals and businesses online and drive the country’s digital transformation.
“The digital economy is expected to contribute 18.2 per cent to Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. It is also expected to exceed the projected target of 20 per cent earlier than 2020,” he said.
World Bank Group, lead knowledge management officer of data, Prasanna Lal Das said there is a huge growth in IoT all over the world, especially in the private sector.
“We are not seeing that much of the government response effectively for both potential and challenges of IoT. We see the potential of IoT to fight poverty and boost prosperity.
“However, we see the government is unprepared at multiple levels. We see policy and infrastructure as the challenges as well as skills and capacity in society as a challenge,” he said.
Prasanna said the government should consider all of the issues holistically and recognise the potential to adopt IoT successfully.
“They need to find models to build infrastructure successfully using the private sector skills and resources effectively.
“The government need to adopt IoT across all segments such as business and regulatory compliances - how the government can make it easier for businesses to comply with regulations,” he added.
Meanwhile, MDEC said it will start recruiting students for the Digital Innovators School, beginning next year to nurture local talents in technology and innovation.
Yasmin said the school will collaborate with Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) and Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) under the purview of the Education Ministry.
“These tech-high schools will be housed in those institutions. We adopt the computational thinking, computational science and coding as the official curriculum at the school.
“We are executing the programme in stages. We also want to attract students who have talent and already exhibited digital innovation characteristics,” she said.
Yasmin said the corporation would need to gather young talents throughout the country and give them the right level of exposure in design thinking, best technology and communication skills.
“Hence, we can nurture Malaysian young talents for the future. Digital economy requires one million of jobs in the future include jobs like software programmer and engineer,” she said.
“We have to develop our talent not only become workers but to become innovators.