Youth want technology innovations to help them connect with people they work with, but concerns remain over impact on their job prospects and security in the digital world
In our increasingly digital world, new and emerging innovations are set to disrupt the way people live, work and play. According to a survey of youth in Thailand, the most exciting technologies expected to have the largest impact on their lives in future will be artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), followed by virtual/mixed/augmented reality (VR/MR/AR), based on survey findings released today by Microsoft.
In the face of imminent disruption, Thai youth also expressed a number of concerns involving the impact of technology on everyday life – namely a loss in job opportunities, relationships growing impersonal, and the rising threat to security and privacy in the digital world.
In the Microsoft Asia Digital Future Survey, 1,400 youths were polled across the Asia Pacific region, including 100 from Thailand. Other markets involved in the survey comprise Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
A future of ubiquitous intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), are ranked as the top technologies that Thai youth expect to have the biggest impact on their lives. In recent years, the confluence of power devices, cloud and data has enabled bold visions on how AI and IoT can be an integrated part of our digital future.
AI involves the creation of intelligent machines or services that work and react like humans – a feature that is now increasingly found in almost everything from translation services to virtual assistants to video games. Leveraging the potential of AI to execute tasks such as data analytics, speech recognition, and problem solving, people can be empowered to achieve more and yet do less.
IoT refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects connected to the Internet and the communication that occurs between these objects and other devices and systems. This includes everything from street sensors, home appliances, wearables, and vehicles.
According to the survey, these are the three scenarios that youth anticipate that the biggest improvement to their lives from AI (ranked from top):
- Connected or driverless cars (46%)
- Software robots that improve productivity (25%)
- Robots as social companions (20%)
On the other hand, they expect IoT to improve lives the most in the following three ways:
- Smart homes where appliances can “talk” to one another (42%)
- Traffic systems that can adjust in real-time to mitigate road conditions (24%)
- Smart buildings that can optimize energy usage according to changes in weather and number of occupants (24%)
The second-ranked technology that youth are most excited about is virtual/mixed/augmented reality.
Augmented reality involves creating or placing a virtual world inside the real world, while virtual reality is about creating a feel of a real world inside a virtual world. Mixed reality combines both elements, where a user can navigate through the real world interacting with virtual objects and real life notions such as ‘depth’.
The survey found that youth are looking forward to future technologies to help them to (ranked from top):
- Facilitate the way they connect with people that they work with
- Improve their physical and mental health
- Make them more employable
Siriporn Pajharawat Director of Developer Experience & Platform Evangelism (DX) Group, Microsoft Thailand, said, “With more than 60 percent of the world’s youth found in Asia Pacific, this region will be a hotbed for the world’s digital revolution. It is exciting to see how youth in Thailand are looking forward to the benefits that future innovations can bring. Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, combined with virtual/mixed/augmented reality, provide incredible digital transformation opportunities for nations and organizations to carve an exciting new future for all of us.”
Preparing for disruption
While 70% of youths surveyed in Thailand feel that their country is ready to adapt to digital disruptions, they also aired a number of major concerns, including:
- Potential loss of jobs (30%)
- Relationships becoming too impersonal (29%)
- Security and privacy (17%)
“The high concern by youth around the potential loss of jobs reflects how it is critical for countries around the world to focus on equipping everyone with the relevant digital skills for the 21st century workplace,” Siriporn added. “Also noteworthy is the awareness of security and privacy issues, which are growing in both importance and prevalence in today’s digital landscape. With more and more devices becoming interconnected, a single vulnerability may lead to damages on a scale never before possible, and every stakeholder across society – from researchers and developers to end users – must work together and act responsibly to uphold safety and privacy for everyone.”
To get ahead, they feel a top priority is to ensure schools prepare students with the right skills to fully leverage future innovations (57%); followed by making future technology innovations affordable and accessible (17%); and creating conducive business environments to encourage startups (13%).
According to the survey, youth feel strongly that public-private partnerships (49%) are needed to drive innovations, ahead of the public sector or the government going at it alone (20%); and the private sector (16%).
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Established in 1993, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited aims to Make 70 Million Lives Better by enabling Thai people and businesses to realize their full potential through technology that transforms the way people work, play, and communicate. We offer software, services, and devices that deliver new opportunities, greater convenience, and enhanced value to people’s lives. Working with communities and the Thai government, Microsoft and its partners are committed to working closely with organizations and people across Thailand to fully harness the power of technology and innovation.
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