Young Southeast Asia Leaders commit to utilise tech for a better society

This article sheds insights from a seminar co-hosted by YSEALI Academy’s Seminar and the Tech For Good Institute titled “Creative AI and Culture Influence”.

(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

Seminar presenters:

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 YSEALI Academy is a partnership of the U.S. Department of State’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and Fulbright University Vietnam.

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.

 

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Mouna Aouri

Programme Fellow

Mouna Aouri is an Institute Fellow at the Tech For Good Institute. As a social entrepreneur, impact investor, and engineer, her experience spans over two decades in the MENA region, South East Asia, and Japan. She is founder of Woomentum, a Singapore-based platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in APAC through skill development and access to growth capital through strategic collaborations with corporate entities, investors and government partners.

Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute, a non-profit founded to catalyse research and collaboration on social, economic and policy trends accelerated by the digital economy in Southeast Asia. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore and Advisor to the Founder of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 15 countries worldwide.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.

 

Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management. Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group and the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, a grantmaker focused on gender equity that has served over 47 million women and girls since 2003.

 

As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to several companies within the COMO Group. Ming also serves as a Council Member of the Council for Board Diversity, on the boards of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), and on the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.

 

In the non-profit, educational and government spheres, Ming is a director of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) and chairs the Asia Advisory board for Swiss hospitality business and management school EHL. She also serves on  the Council for Board Diversity and the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.

 

Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.