Good morning, everyone
Welcome to DAY TWO of THIS (Tech Hub Islands Summit) presented by AMCHAM T&T and Republic Bank.
I just have a few little messages that I wanted to share with you all this morning.
Yesterday, we were talking about AI becoming sentient, what that means, and how dangerous that could be for us.
But I would argue that we are facing a greater danger today. A danger that the system overwhelms us. And the inertia that we talk about or the things that we don't get done or why life is hard or not good. This system is overwhelming us. But what is the system?
The system is you. The system is me. We are all nodes that make up that system. So how do we see ourselves? Do we see ourselves like the big strong dog who sees himself or herself as being incapable of doing anything or do we see ourselves like the cat is a tiger?
I think that's a fundamental question. Because we often ask who should do something. Why not you? Why not me? Why should somebody else do it? And that's what we're trying to do here at AMCHAM T&T as we build the Tech Hub because we have a problem.
I don't know how many of you caught this. But the SEA results this year show that of the 19,000 children who wrote the exam, the majority of students got less than fifty percent in Math and English - and by the way, the SEA exam is now whittled down to Math and English only, and no other subjects such as social studies and science.
Okay, so we have a problem. But life is about us turning problems into opportunities.
So how can we take this problem and turn it into an opportunity? So, instead of thinking, "oh my gosh, Tech is going to take away jobs". Why not talk about how Tech is going to help us get better jobs and improve social justice and social mobility in Trinidad and Tobago, and the world? That should be our goal.
In 2019, when I give this speech, this slide was a picture of some CPEP workers, and the next slide was a picture of tech workers in data science and so on. What we should be thinking about today is taking the people who feel they have no opportunities in the traditional system and creating opportunities for them while using technology as an enabler and as an industry, in and of itself, to be able to do that and to also solve the problems that we have of inequality and injustice around the world.
If we define our problem, if we say, we are going to be part of the solution as AMCHAM T&T is, as all of you are, then we can say, you know what, let's use some tools or let's create some new tools to solve our problems and to make our whole space better because that's what it should be about.
So, when we talk about the various industrial revolutions and we no longer have as many people in the developed world involved in manual labor - and we talked about using technology for business efficiency - shouldn't we also be talking about technology, in terms of quality of life and maybe even reducing the work week and reducing work.
Can we create the conditions where technology does some of the things that we do now that maybe we don't have to do? We tease the lawyers about it and talk about the bots that are giving you better results than the lawyers because they are able in a short time to use the data and algorithms to scan tens of thousands of cases, tell you what the case law is and therefore what's the best outcome. But they are complex things that you still require lawyers for, right? Therefore, if we can reduce some of the busy work or some of the tedious work, can we get better quality of life? Not that we don't want lawyers to have a better quality of life.
For any job set, we can do that. So that is what when we talk about building a tech sector it is not an abstract thing and it is not only a money thing - although that is important because you need the resources to be able to move things along – but it's how do we do this to achieve larger objectives that we have around how we want our society to develop.
And in that vein, we spend a lot of time focusing on government - yesterday, Carina Cockburn from the IDB spoke about cyber security and a possible testing lab within the private sector. But what if our government which has so much to do in their digital transformation journey, sees itself as a developer of IP, where they invite the private sector and they put an open call to solve solutions and become co-owners of the IP that we can then resell on license and that in itself becomes a revenue stream.
My point is, that there's no shortage of ideas, there's no shortage of opportunities. And if we focus only on the problems, we will never create the Trinidad and Tobago that we want. We will never achieve the objectives that we want, and we will always be depressed and upset and angry because all we see is what we can't do or what somebody else should do.
So, let's create the Trinidad and Tobago that we want, and we argue that let's do it in part through the development of a tech sector because "we can make it if we try, just a little harder" in the words of the great poet, the Black Stalin.
Thank you very much.