The Rapid Rise of Artificial Intelligence: From ChatGPT to Sora and Beyond

On artificial intelligence. Less than two weeks ago, just before Budget 2024, the announcement by DPM, Lawrence Wong, our Finance Minister, there was another announcement halfway across the world from Singapore. A tech company which is already changing the world, a tech company called OpenAI, which brought you ChatGPT not too long ago. That company announced a new platform, a new AI platform called Sora, allows you to key in text, type in some text, a prompt, and it can produce videos which are indistinguishable from what Hollywood can produce today. And what smaller studios can produce.

Just one year ago during the debate on the president’s address in April 2023, I’d spoken in Parliament about the age of AI and how fast things were changing, how software like ChatGPT, GPT four, mid journey 5 had appeared on the market within less than a year or so. AI, which can hold a conversation with you, can write an essay for you, that’s ChatGPT AI, which can take high school exams, Advanced Placement exams in the United States curriculum and outperform many humans. That’s GPT four AI, which can create photorealistic pictures of events that never happened. That’s mid journey 5.

Just one year ago, I had spoken about how with increases in computing power, once you go from generating one make believe image to 30 images a second, you go from AI generated photos to AI generated videos. At the time, April 2023, I’d expected the technology to take another two to three years. As it happened, it took place faster than I imagined.

Within 10 months, OpenAI had announced the Sora platform to produce AI generated video. So that’s the world today. Technology disruption happening very quickly. New challenges everywhere, the unexpected increasingly the norm. And so we can’t hide from these changes. No country, no economy can hide from these changes in the world with AI, even if an entire country tries to prevent AI from entering its borders, other economies will do so. Your competitors will do so. So we have to accept the world as it is, the way the world is going to be, and look after, support, empower, uplift our people. And this is why the new subsidy for Singaporeans age 40 and above to pursue another full time diploma in higher education. This new subsidy in the budget, that’s why it’s so important because it recognizes that in a world that’s changing so quickly.

Clear what you learn in school, in education at age 20 may have changed, transforms, been replaced by a new world by the time you’re age 40. It recognizes that change and supports middle age and older workers and having mid career workers learning new skills alongside younger workers, a middle aged mid career worker alongside someone who’s 18,19,20+ years old learning together. That will also transform the education experience in our institutes of higher learning because all the workers bring life experience, life skills, living wisdom into the classroom. Even as they bring that into the classroom, they also learn new skills together with the younger students. And these students, by working with each other, they even lift up one another. It will transform the classroom, even as it allows the older and younger workers to form new friendships, new networks and new opportunities together.