TechTrade Asia published an article on the progress of blockchain in 2018, and how the technology will play out in the coming year. According to Steve, blockchain will play a bigger role beyond the financial industry. For instance, it can be used to address food safety by preserving the integrity of food supply, create a greener ecosystem through energy or electricity-sharing on the Blockchain, increased transparency in logistical supply chains, and stamping out counterfeit drugs in the healthcare system. He added that blockchain can help solve poverty issues on a large scale and create an economic impact on the underserved community in Southeast Asia. The lack of access and difficulties for many of the unbanked and underbanked population is creating barriers for these communities to come out of poverty, and blockchain helps to remove the need for a ‘middle man’ that requires a fee for a bank account opening or usage, reducing the cost of transactions. Finally, Steve gave the example of how AID:Tech, one of SGInnovate’s portfolio companies, is enabling aid, welfare, remittances, donations and healthcare to be digitised and delivered through blockchain technology in a transparent manner.
CNBC Asia conducted an interview with Steve on its morning programme, Squawk Box Asia, on the key technology trends for 2019. Apart from cryptocurrency, Steve highlighted that there are more important use cases for blockchain such as for the management of digital assets or creation of digital identities. For MedTech, innovations in this field remain a tough one to crack due to the complex regulatory environments in different countries, a longer time for investments to be realised, and a challenging adoption curve.
CNBC Make It published an article on the widening gender pay gap that is arising from the development in AI and automation. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, the growth of jobs in emerging industries, such as IT and engineering, is set to disproportionately hurt women and by consequence, progress made in reducing pay inequality. Many of the roles typically filled by women, such as administrative and customer service roles, are being automated by new technologies. In addition, the types of roles that are growing, like machine learning and big data roles in the IT sector, happen to be the ones where the talent base of women is considerably smaller than that to men. “There is no doubt that more can be done to encourage and inspire women to take interest in STEM-related subjects,” Steve told CNBC Make It. To that end, SGInnovate runs a series of internships and placements such as the Summation Programme, where the hands-on experience helps to get more women into the field and break down outdated stereotypes. According to Steve, many of the brightest founders that SGInnovate has backed are women, and these women are working on highly technical areas such as AI and Medtech. He is confident that more women will step up to build great innovations that will help shape the world that we live in.
GovInsider featured an article on Juliana in the Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report, which showcases the stories of inspiring women in public service. As the Head of Talent Networking in SGInnovate, Juliana works with her team to build the deep tech talent pool in Singapore by enhancing the technical capabilities of talents through learning opportunities, as well as expanding the deep tech talent marketplace so that talents and high-potential startups can seek each other out. For 2019, Juliana and her team will focus on enhancing the human capital potential of Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem, continue to build deep tech talent capabilities through world-class learning opportunities while continually seeking out the best and hard-to-reach deep tech talents for ambitious and capable startups.
GovInsider featured an article on SzeKi in the Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report, which showcases the stories of inspiring women in public service. As the Head of Brand in SGInnovate, SzeKi is focused on sharing the Singapore innovation story and deep tech capabilities locally and internationally. One of the ways to achieve this is to showcase some of the founders that SGInnovate works with, feature their innovations, as well as how they are addressing important global issues. For 2019, SGInnovate will continue to focus on building the deep tech ecosystem and aim to drive deeper engagement with the community by experimenting with different formats and platforms.
SMU Perspectives published an article from the SMU China Forum 2018, a high-level dialogue platform for the academic and business communities of Singapore and China to exchange views and experiences on developmental issues of impact common to both countries. During the panel discussion on the topic of “Made in China 2025 – Strategy and Implementation”, Steve Leonard shared the ambition of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive for entrepreneurs, corporates, government and academics to work together on challenging problems such as ageing population, transport and urban density, with the use of technology. With the capabilities developed since, he commented that Singapore has an opportunity to be an important contributor to China’s application of AI, in areas such as healthcare and housing.