Keep the human touch

While keeping up with technological advances is essential in today's fast-paced world, how much technology is too much?

In the article ("Vision of a smart nation is to make life better: PM Lee"; Tuesday), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that if we can automate things that are routine, we can concentrate on the things that really matter.

It may be easy to automate our daily routines, but there is a risk that we may lose essential life skills in the process.

Take the example of self-driving cars. It used to be a source of pride for one to master the skill of driving. But with a self-driving car, the importance of this skill would be greatly diminished.

And as technology gets "smarter", many jobs may become obsolete.

For example, with virtual therapy, fewer physiotherapists may be needed in hospitals. And with self-driving cars, taxi drivers may lose their jobs.

While it may be possible to re-skill these workers, it will not be easy.

Moreover, the "human factor" in our daily lives will be reduced - the care and dedication of physiotherapists play a significant role in aiding the recovery of a patient; small talk with taxi drivers makes a ride memorable.

More importantly, an over-reliance on technology gives rise to privacy concerns.

Accumulating huge stores of personal data on online databases exposes us to the risk of the information being used indiscriminately. Perhaps the Government could consider introducing laws to prevent this from happening.

Eden Chua (Miss)

This article was first published on Nov 29, 2014.
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