18 Sep 2017, IPEC BUREAU

We are fast approaching 2020, which means we are that much closer to the year of our country’s vision of becoming a high-income nation. What happens then? We keep developing and moving forward of course but to do so effectively, it is essential to embrace the changing times and take advantage of new opportunities that will arise in all industries as changes come in thick and fast.

Today, the key driver of growth and development in the world is Science, Technology & Innovation (STI).  In Malaysia, STI is recognised as the defining factor for the nation’s progress over a period of 30 years, from beyond 2020. Hence, the launch of the new 30-year transformation plan by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in October 2016 –  Transformasi Nasional 2050 or TN50.

The objective of TN50 is to transform our beloved nation into one with great calibre and a futuristic mindset. While one may assume this is more relevant to the younger generation, I would like to stress that STI is an unconventional social innovation concept that should be embraced by all generations, a category currently known as the WOW Generation which encompasses X, Y, Z and Baby Boomers.

For TN50 to be a success, everyone needs to transform their mindset in line with STI. This is critical now, as we are confronted with MEGA-TREND challenges particularly the 4th Industry Revolution for Digital Transformation and Robotics. As the head of IPEC Bureau and one of the ambassadors of TN50 tasked with the responsibility of driving the Futuristic Human Capital revolution, I cannot stress enough the importance of building a smart community through STI.

This will enable us to trigger industrial revolution intervention, human capital empowerment, and promote the 3Qs (Quality Opportunity, Quality Income & Quality Life), factors that will have a highly positive impact on the national happiness index. From IPEC’s perspective, we have always championed the development of Futuristic Human Capital revolution with the adoption of ISO/IEC17024 Certification of Persons framework.

These targets are well within reach and can be achieved through constant engagements on the ground. We must encourage students, youths, and educators to share their thoughts and aspirations about the futuristic human capital landscape for jobs and career opportunities and entrepreneurship by the year 2050. To quote our Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau in an interview with Sunday Star in 2016:

“The new economy will be science and technology-driven, moving away from resource-based industries. We must also realise that knowledge is the currency of the new economy. So, in order to be competitive, we have no choice but to enhance our capacity, capabilities and talent pool in STI.

It’s hard to predict what the future holds for jobs or career opportunities over the next 20 to 30 years. But numerous experts have analysed macro and micro trends that could potentially shape job markets of the future. As strange as this may sound, we could possibly see vacancies or positions such as Tele-Surgeons, Robot Counsellors, Transitionists, Expansionists, Inflectionists, and more.

Let’s take the teaching profession as an example. I agree that it is a profession that can never be replaced by robots or machines simply because the job relies heavily on human touch and emotions. However, numerous advancements are being made to further enhance the profession. The human-technology combo will give rise to new methods to help teachers effectively assess and develop students better than there ever was.

An interesting article I came across stated that a job titled Avatar Relationship Manager could be something that will be in demand as one of the highest paid jobs in future that deals with balancing the radical metamorphosis of automated avatars and humans. Effectively, today’s Relationship Manager could be tomorrow’s Avatar Relationship Manager.

While all this may sound rather scary, there’s really nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the future. You just have to ensure that you develop along with the technology and master new skill sets that will drive forward through changing times.

A great platform for STI is on the horizon. From 12 to 16 October 2017, MOSTI will be conducting the National Innovation And Creative Economy Expo 2017 (NICE 2017). This will be the largest STI showcase in the country and will present great opportunities for researchers and educators to showcase to the public all work and efforts relating to STI.

NICE 2017 will also set the stage for the creation of the talent pool in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that will drive innovation capacity, increase productivity, and promote sustainability and competitiveness.

As one of the MOSTI NICE 2017 ambassadors, and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the WOW Generation to join us at this expo and get a first-hand look at how the future is STI. Global mega trends are rising and the WOW Generation needs prepare to face the challenges and pounce on the opportunities that will arise. Technology is giving us super human attributions and capabilities beyond our wildest dreams.

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