Dr Michio delivering his keynote address at IDECS2019. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has been praised as a caring government that wants to lead its people into the future.

“It is so rare, to find a government and ministers that yearn to lead in the digital economy,” added world-renowned futurist and theoretical physicist from the United States of America (USA) Dr Michio Kaku yesterday.

He gave the Sarawak government and ministers a pat on the back while delivering his keynote address entitled “The World in 2030” at the third International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (IDECS) 2019 with the theme, “Envisioning Sarawak Futures Living” at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

With the world shifting into digital technology, Michio suggested that the government select any industry at random and digitalise it, identify where the middlemen were, sources of friction, inefficiency, waste, redundancy, bottlenecks, choke points, and etcetera, and employ analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to deal with them.

He explained that the four waves of wealth generation were steam power; electricity and automobiles; high tech including lasers and computers and biotech, nanotech, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr Michio delivering his keynote address at IDECS2019. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“In the industrial age, we have the oil to power everything but in this information age now, the fuel for the technology is data.

“Without exception, every industry will be revolutionised by analytics and AI, for an example, in robotics, we have application in the manufacture, services, industry and military.

“Internet and AI are everywhere, for an example, internet glasses are used in the operating room by doctors and surgeons to show MRI scans, X-rays and many more.

“In the future, workers will be able to see blueprints and architects will be able to see models, via AI.

“Besides that, machines can spot cancer, early Alzheimer’s, in X-rays and MRI scans, so much faster than doctors.

“However, this does not mean that AI will be able to replace doctors, but merely as an aid and assistance to them,” added Dr Michio.

He further explained that while virtual reality (VR) was widely used by children nowadays, in future, he could see business meetings, conferences, telepresence, tours, education, training and many more being done on VR.

“Additionally, computers can already extract images from the brain now and in the future, artists and designers can think of an image, and a 3D printer will be able to print it out, directly from the brain.

“In the future, you can use the high-tech contact lenses and when you blink, you will be online.

“For an example, you will be able to see the person’s biography, information and everything about them when you first met them and languages will be instantly translated as you speak to foreigners,” he said.

Dr Michio, however, stressed that robots would not be able to replace humans entirely.

“Not every worker will lose their jobs to robots in the digital future. There are a lot of jobs which robots cannot perform, such as the semi-skilled manual labour performed by carpenters and plumbers, the jobs that involve human interactions such as those performed by lawyers and counsellors, and finally the intellectual capitalists or ‘the products of the mind’ which are analysts, scientists and artists.

“On the flipside, those who stand to lose out will be repetitive workers and middlemen who create ‘friction’ in capitalism.”

Dr Michio also believed that the world was entering the fourth era of wealth generation which would give rise to a “perfect capitalism”, where there would be “perfect knowledge” of supply and demand between consumers and companies.

“What about humans? Humans are going to be in the picture because humans are required for intellectual capital,” he concluded.