Interview: AI can solve world’s biggest problems: Int’l tech expert

The world has too many big problems, according to renowned technology expert Steve Leonard, but thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) we will soon be able to solve some.

Giving a speech at the Emerging Innovation Summit in Australia’s Melbourne, the American entrepreneur who now resides in Singapore as the founding CEO of venture capital firm SGInnovate, will also meet with Victorian State officials and other international experts as part of a closed-door conference on Wednesday called the Global Tech Leaders’ Dialogue.

Hoping to dispel fears about new technology and innovation, Leonard told Xinhua that AI should be viewed as a set of tools which are “both inevitable and important”.

“There’s issues about food scarcity, or water shortages, or climate change, or public safety, over healthcare for an aging population and so on,” he said.

“And my view is, at least from within the technology industry, is that it’s important for us to utilize technology in new and more impactful ways.”

“There’s a lot of technology focused on consumer convenience. You can have things delivered, you can do the second or third thing. It’s all sort of convenience oriented. But these ideas of hard problems, life or death problems, I think we have to be utilizing tools such as AI,” he said.

Eyeing potential in the Australian innovation start-up landscape, SGInnovate, which is also backed by the Singapore government, has already invested in one Australian-based deep tech company.

“See-Mode, essentially what they do is try to help provide a way for physicians and clinicians to better diagnose which patients who’ve had a stroke, are at a higher risk of recurrence of a stroke,” Leonard said.

“So they’re using computer vision and artificial intelligence tools to run a series of models that gives us new insight, and really helps us know more accurately who we have to keep a special eye on or provide a different level of care for.”

According to him, Australia is moving forward and has the opportunity to be a significant leader in AI technology. He also talked about China’s southern city of Shenzhen, a famous incubator of many high-tech companies.

“If you look at China, there are some pretty special places. Shenzhen being one, where there are all kinds of changes that have occurred at an amazing pace,” Leonard said.