At Your Service

Picture this: you’re sitting at your favourite restaurant, where a friendly robot showed you to your seat. Your friends are going over the touch-screen menu and ordering through the various IPads at your disposal. Your orders are brought by another cute robot who’s quick, efficient, and quiet. During your meal, any requests for more water or extra items can be processed with the touch of a button. When you’re done, you swipe your phone over the corner of the counter and your bill is paid!

Sounds like science fiction?

Well, most of these elements already exist in many businesses across the world!

True, not all of these features are available in one single restaurant, and many of them use them as unique selling points for their business (“let’s go try out that robot restaurant I heard about!”).

But imagine the dining experience we’ll be able to have in just a few years!

Even better, these high tech experiences won’t be limited to just restaurants. Other sectors of the service industry will deploy enjoyable and quirky tech advancements: hotels are already trying out incredible new technologies such as automated baggage handlers and retina-scan doors, chefs are already using augmented-reality countertops and voice-activated recipes, and cleaners are increasingly equipped with powerful and eco-friendly tools.

So what does this mean for Singapore companies?

There are two ways new technologies will affect the labour market here:

– The people whose job will be changed by the rising automation of tasks: will they simply be replaced by machines and be sent their way towards new professions? The simple answer is no.

Government intervention will play a big role in not only making cool products and useful services a reality, but in ensuring workers are given the training, skills, and wages that’ll allow them to work with – and not against – such technical evolutions.

– The businesses who’ll be at the forefront of innovation: this is a perfect time for businesses to build technologies of their own to get the world to follow our own pace of change.

There are numerous government schemes and funds out there to foster innovation, which is great news for anyone with a cool idea!


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