President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier William Lai (賴清德) could be doing better in the opinion polls. Now that the Lunar New Year holiday is over, the public expects the two leaders to turn their attention to the nation’s future trajectory. Hopefully, their efforts will not be hijacked by partisan squabbles or ideological arguments, and they will take the well-being of ordinary Taiwanese into consideration.
The economy needs to be a priority. To this end, the government would do well to heed the following five suggestions.
First, the government should concentrate on developing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). In the past, Taiwan has missed opportunities by being late to the game in areas such as the Internet and telecommunications. Now, as AI technology is starting to be developed, the nation has the chance to get ahead of the game, to perhaps be a leader in the field. To achieve this, Taiwan must be proactive.
Second, the government has to understand the importance of big data. Many aspects of AI require swift computer processing speeds combined with big data. Combining AI technology with big data analysis yields benefits as data and information are transformed into knowledge and wisdom. Just as the basics — big data in this case — are essential for AI technology, administration and policymaking should also be focused on the fundamentals.
Next is the importance of the cloud. Facebook and Amazon transformed themselves from small businesses into enterprise giants, ranking among the world’s top 10 companies thanks to their use of cloud platforms. Service and function integration across these platforms enables the creation of a huge network, the likes of which Apple and Google are now employing.
The government should learn from them by imagining itself working on a shared platform, while focusing on integration. The key to long-term success and security is collaboration and cooperation among different functions of government, not the elimination or silencing of rival ideas.
Taiwan used to be a global pioneer in personal electronic devices, such as computers, laptops and cellphones. Those days are long gone. The main reason for this is a lack of product differentiation. The government should encourage electronics device manufacturers to use AI technology to introduce new technologies that can improve manufacturing processes.
Finally, there is e-commerce. The achievements of Amazon and Alibaba serve as examples of business success. Clearly, Taiwanese businesses must similarly broaden their e-commerce markets. However, relevant laws and regulations have not yet been properly established, which is an impediment to e-commerce development, making it unnecessarily difficult for businesses to progress.
The government should facilitate the development of a business environment conducive to e-commerce, but legislation should not aim to achieve the difficult while overlooking the fundamentals. More important, any law should not focus on measures for preventing embezzlement to the extent that they hinder businesses from generating revenue and prevent industry from thriving.
Nothing about these recommendations is difficult to implement — it is all about the mentality. If the government is determined to do something, ordinary people and businesses will get on board without hesitation.
If efforts are put forward with a realistic and steadfast attitude, this year’s result for the drawing of the divination slips — a so-called “down-down slip” drawn in Tainan’s Nankunshen Daitian Temple — should not be something to fear, as the nation’s future has a shining silver lining.
Chang Ruay-shiung is the president of National Taipei University of Business.
Translated by Chang Ho-ming
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