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We are trying to build more originators in Singapore: IDA’s Steve Leonard

Zafar Anjum | March 21, 2014
He was speaking at NTU's symposium on Big Data in Singapore

Steve Leonard

Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) (File photo)

Giving a call to tech innovators, Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), said that Singapore is trying to build more originators than mere users of technology or app developers.

Singapore is a smart nation and we have all the ingredients to build an innovation culture in Singapore (#buildSG), he said.

He was delivering his opening remarks as a guest of honour at a symposium on Big Data today. The symposium was organized by the Wee Kim Wee School of Information and Communication (WKWSCI) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), aimed at developing smarter communities of the future.

He welcomed new ideas from tech researchers and innovators in Singapore to push the boundaries of technology. "Think about something that is more relevant beyond Singapore," he said, underlining the need for innovations that have universal appeal.

On the issue of innovation and privacy, Leonard said that no matter how much we respect the idea of privacy, complete anonymity is not possible in today's world. "The more you disclose, the more benefits you will be able to get," he said.

He gave examples of the Personal Genome Project in UK, Amazon's drone in the US, Planet Lab's Dove satellites, and Ushahidi in Africa-if we are to benefit from these new technologies, we have to disclose parts of our private information for the greater good of humanity.

Focus on big data

About 200 academics, media researchers, industry players and government policymakers attended the symposium at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

"The volume of data now available and the speed at which they can be transmitted hold tremendous possibilities for the development of global, connected communities, while at the same time raising complex social and ethical questions," said Professor Alan Chan, Dean of NTU's College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. "NTU and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, in particular, are keen to spearhead research in this exciting area."

The symposium is part of NTU's New Media thrust, one of the University's five Peaks of Excellence or interdisciplinary areas of research the University focuses on.

"We look forward to working closely with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the industry to develop academic programmes to support Singapore's efforts to be the Big Data analytics hub in the region," said WKWSCI's Acting Chair Professor Charles Salmon.

Some of the prominent presenters at the symposium were Professor Richard Ling, from the IT University of Copenhagen, and Dr Laura Wynter, Director at the IBM Research Collaboratory in Singapore.


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