(Center left) Dr. Ming Tan, Founding Executive Director of Tech for Good Institute
(Center right) Simon See, Senior Director of NVIDIA and 35 young leaders from 11 Southeast Asian countries.
By Tran Thi Thuc Huyen, Program Manager, YSEALI Academy
- Dr. Ming Tan, Founding Executive Director of Tech for Good Institute
- Simon See, Senior Director of NVIDIA
From 24 to 28 April, YSEALI Academy hosted its Flagship Seminar Technology and Innovation on Creative AI and Culture Influence in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the program was attended by 35 Southeast Asian young leaders, who possess unique ideas and excellent leadership potential to solve pressing issues in the region.
As part of the series of seminars to inspire youths around the region, Dr. Ming Tan was invited to share her insights on technology and the power of youth, and how they can utilize such knowledge to solve societal problems in the region.
Key insights from the seminar:
- Technology is inherently value-driven
As with the evolution of the automotive industry, ease, comfort, convenience were all “Tech for Good” factors to decision makers in the industry. However, in today’s modern world, who gets to decide who the decision makers of ‘tech for good’ are and what do they value?
As shared by Dr. Ming Tan, advancing “Tech for Good” in Southeast Asia requires us to examine what we, as individuals, communities and societies, choose to value, and this requires a collective effort from the different facets of society, from policy makers to private sector to academics to civil society to young leaders, to come together to share, listen and advocate for a vision of the future that technology can then enable.
- The harmonisation of ability and accountability in maximising technology’s potential
In the seminar, Dr. Ming Tan and the session participants deliberated on the utilisation of technology in the age of AI. While the need to advance technology is crucial, being able to be accountable and responsible with that utilisation was deemed more important. As highlighted by one of the participants, “Generative AI is not a one-size-fits-all solution to all problems, and it is crucial to understand when to use these tools and when not to, as ultimately, humans will be responsible for executing and reviewing the results.”. Indeed, the session agreed that in the age of these emerging technologies, ethical considerations should be at the forefront of every stage of the innovation process, from ideation to implementation.
- Youths as the future of Southeast Asia
With more than half of Southeast Asians under 30 years old, the region is home to young “digital” natives. Youths therefore have the power to be active citizens, to demand inclusive, responsible tech products and services as customers of the future.
Technology should ultimately serve society and not the other way around. In closing, Dr. Ming Tan highlighted that as leaders of tomorrow, youths play a critical role in shaping the future of Southeast Asia, a future where “tech for growth is not enough”. Instead, one should aspire for a future where tech enables a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive society, a future that is “Tech for Good”.
About YSEALI Academy
The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) builds the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve regional and global challenges.