Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic throughout the world over recent years. There have been lots of studies and discussions over how AI can substitute human workforce in so many positions and domains. Three days ago the One Country Two Systems Research Institute published a study on the impacts AI will cause to the Hong Kong market and workforce in the near future.
The study was conducted by Dr. Paul Duckworth with machine learning, which revealed that in the next 10 to 20 years, around 1 million population in Hong Kong will be threatened by 70% chances of being replaced by AI technologies. The affected population will constitute more than one fourth of the total workforce. The study further mentions policies such as universal basic income, robot tax, capital ownership over machines, etc. in better safeguarding the people in employment against AI. However Hong Kong has not developed any comprehensive development strategy concerning AI.
It is noteworthy that the study points out 3 weaknesses of the Hong Kong market against AI to invite more discussions. First, the 4 pillar industries in Hong Kong, namely finance, tourism, trade and logistics, and professional services, while making jobs for almost half of the workforce, are threatened by a rather high risk of being replaced by AI. Second, education on science and mathematics is rather weak, unable to nurture AI talents of the future. Third, workforce engaged in continuous education is low, making them susceptible to risks imposed by advanced technologies.
AI advancement and adoption are inevitable. Hong Kong has stepped up efforts in developing the innovation sector over recent years. For example, the 2018-19 Hong Kong Budget reserves 10 billion HKD alongside a series of initiatives to bolster innovation technology in Hong Kong. There are also supportive incubators for technology startups, such as Science Park and Cyberport that supply funding and help.
However, while help to IT companies has been strengthened, it should be just as vital to prepare citizens for the AI era. It is critical for citizens to understand what AI is capable of, and how AI can be of use to their life and jobs, in order to embrace AI in different domains instead of fearing it. STEM education, namely the curriculum on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has already been proactively launched across Hong Kong primary and secondary schools to cultivate technology interests and talents in young generations. But it is more difficult for adults to adapt to innovation, so more courses on AI and related areas should be provided to citizens with financial assistance to help them get adapted to AI adoption. A positive and healthy mindset toward AI encourages better transits on the part of citizens, and also allows for a culture conducive to creation and innovation with AI.
研究由保羅·德沃夫博士（Dr. Paul Duckworth）以機械學習（Machine Learning）方式進行，結果顯示在未來十至二十年，香港約一百萬人在工作上面對70%的機會被人工智能取代，被影響人口多於整體勞動人口的四分一。研究亦提及數項保障市民的措施，如全民基本收入、機械人稅、機械資本所有權等等。然而香港現時尚未有任何全面的與人工智能相關的發展策略。