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Ong Ye Kung: We need to embrace the double-edged sword that is technology

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On Wednesday, the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) in Shenton Way launched the IBF Careers Connect, a one-stop centre where finance professionals can look for job matching, career development and training advice

The launch saw Education Minister as the guest of honour.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Ong, said that the IBF Careers Connect would be the first to focus on the financial industry.

Mr Ong also said that while embracing technology can help to raise the country’s competitiveness and workforce capabilities, as well as create more jobs, innovation remains a doubled-edged sword.

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He continued saying that, “If the first phase (of embracing technology) is not handled well, sentiments of workers will turn against us. This first wave is the most critical because it directly affects people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

Many others who spoke at the event also emphasised upon the need for technology to be harnessed and made use of.

IBF’s chief executive Ng Nam Sin said, “It took the personal computer 10 years to reach the mass market and it took the Internet 4 years to reach 50 million users. We think digital technology is going to be more viral and it will hit how we work and how we live much faster.

The financial sector has been working its way toward a digital shift, with many banks going digital.

Ms Tricia Li, a bank teller at POSB since 1994, was asked by the media if she was worried that technology might just replace her, she replied, “No doubt there were some customers who said ‘Oh you’re going to be replaced by these machines’ but I told them no worries.”

She also added, “We have to be positive. If the changes need to come, we have to accept.”

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obbana@theindependent.sg

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