Premier Lai vows to turn Taiwan into ‘intelligent country’

Government should provide basis for digital progress

Premier William Lai addressing the CommonWealth Economic Forum Wednesday.

Premier William Lai addressing the CommonWealth Economic Forum Wednesday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier William Lai (賴清德) promised Wednesday that he would promote technological development and the digital sector to turn Taiwan into an “intelligent country.”

The promise came in a speech titled “Taiwan’s next step” and delivered at a CommonWealth Magazine forum about “Technology, Globalization and Humanity’s Future.”

“As long as I haven’t been replaced by Artificial Intelligence,” the premier joked, “I will promote every kind of policy … in order to improve the lives of our citizens,” the Chinese-language Liberty Times quoted him as saying.

Lai looked at Taiwan ten years from now, wondering if today’s vehicles would be replaced by self-driving cars or environmentally friendlier vehicles, and if citizens would have gone beyond mobile payment systems.

The premier also touched on the problem of an ageing population, asking his audience whether it could be solved by technology. The question of whether doctors, lawyers and teachers could be replaced by robots was a serious issue, Lai said.

It was his government’s duty to adopt the right policies to lay a foundation for technological development and hand business the means of pushing for creativity in research and development, the Liberty Times quoted Lai as saying.

Despite being a small country, Taiwan had turned into a giant of the digital economy, the premier said.