Malaysia now stands at the final stretch of achieving industrialised nation status by the end of this decade. As a nation, we have come a long way from our roots as a former colony, with agriculture and raw materials as our sole source of income.
For the last three to four decades, we have ventured into numerous high value sectors, including the automotive industry - that has bred full-fledged local car makers capable of designing and developing cars from scratch, and the large ecosystem of vendors, dealerships and service centres to cater to the growing techno-economy.
Today, we are prepared for the next phase of advancement. Our industrial foundation has prepared itself for higher level capabilities through strategically placed infrastructure and a technologically diverse talent pool.
The government institutions have enhanced its delivery service to bring rapid capacity enhancement to businesses and citizens alike. Our education system is producing a significant number of researchers and graduates.
Numerous articles in this column have discussed the global phenomenon that is Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution. At the core of this phenomenon is the massive traffic of data, which are transferred, processed and interpreted into useful information, knowledge and wisdom.
However, with increasing ease of access to this huge amounts of information, comes the high risk of information anxiety and misrepresentation.
While technology increases the amount of data that can be processed over a time period, human ability to keep up with the massive amount of data is unfortunately limited.
Conventional philosophy has long dictated that societal maturity is the foundation of an advanced nation. The basic benchmark for reaching such levels is the information, knowledge and skills possessed by its citizens - the citizens must be well read, fact driven and articulate in their ideas, with minimal bias and objectivity.
The advent of the internet, especially social media, has created an environment where there exists such high risks mentioned above. The high traffic of information that we can access, in fact algorithmically pushed on us, may cause us to spend less time on focused reading, and more on superficial browsing of a wider array of information, causing distorted analysis and misunderstanding of issues.
Our own personal online networks, which often are similar views to our own as a natural consequence of human social norms, have strong potentials to create cognitive bias and shield us from access to different perspectives.
As the world moves through its next revolution, the societies that intend to participate must also elevate itself above misrepresented information and data that risks stifling true progress.
While the freedom of information and thought is highly encouraged, we must educate ourselves and our young ones about the dangers of fake news and malicious information.
That can only be done through cohesive and continuous efforts to inculcate reading, analysis and mature discussion on issues pertaining to societal progress.
At Malaysia Automotive Institute, we are continuously striving to create an environment that facilitates intellectual discourse, through our social media channels, online portal as well as direct discussion with in our open space in Cyberjaya.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite all stakeholders, including the public, to voice out your opinions and questions to us, so we can understand each other's views and develop innovative solutions for the betterment of our nation.
"The bests ideas are often products of great intellectual disagreements"
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.