KAMPAR: Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah has called for sufficient policy-making, regulation and education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to ensure new technologies are used for the greater good instead of instigating more inequality among the people.
The Sultan said this was because the costs and benefits of technological changes were unlikely to be evenly distributed, and this could contribute to worsening inequality.
He said scientists should play an important role in policy development and regulation of scientific and technological advances to ensure they were effectively controlled and managed for the benefit of all.
“There are many dire predictions of the likely impact of the coming wave of technological change on employment and the workplace.
“One study by the Oxford Business Group in 2013 suggests that at least 50% of 700 different job categories may be fully automated in the coming years.
“At the same time, large productivity gains would be generated by new technologies.
“Inequality, combined with mass unemployment, could result in political and social upheaval on a massive scale, as depicted in dystopian science fiction movies,” he said in a keynote address at Asian Science Camp (ASC) 2017 here yesterday.
Sultan Nazrin, however, said it was in the social and political realm where people could work to influence these technological and scientific advances and regulate them effectively.
“The challenges presented by these coming changes must be examined more closely and discussed more openly.
“The more we understand what is happening, the better we can control it and channel it effectively,” he added.
Held for the first time in Malaysia at the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Kampar campus, ASC 2017 is an annual event to deepen interests in STEM among Asian youths and expose them to their importance via close interaction with STEM luminaries.
Also present were Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, UTAR president Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik and ACS Steering Committee chairman Datuk Hong Lee Pee.