Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says tertiary institutions must contribute to nation-building by investing more research funds in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.
The Minister, who was addressing a symposium on cybercrime at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on October 11, said the Government will be depending on the “wisdom” and expertise of these facilities to guide “our development agenda” in the future of information technology.
“I must commend the UWI, in particular, for incorporating green technology into your operations and teaching activities. But I challenge you to make your large campus the first smart campus in Jamaica,” Dr. Chang said.
“Rather than losing some of our brightest students because there is insufficient room made for research into this field, you must attract, instead, the region’s best,” he added.
The Minister said that while there have clearly been signs that investments have been made in this area of academia, every effort must be made to raise the bar even a little bit higher.
“The research required must be right and robust, relying on local realities and tailored for our culture,” he added.
Dr. Chang noted that for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Jamaica, the issue of financing as it relates to advancement in technology “is perennial”.
He also noted that access to funding to create better outcomes and experiences for “our visitors and citizens” is a critical factor in the rate and standard of development.
“This is where we must call on our private-sector partners. The call for private-sector involvement in development, particularly in public-private partnerships (PPP), is not unique to this Government,” the Minister said.
He noted that in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubai, Hamburg and Singapore, which are considered the world’s smartest cities, the involvement of private investment was significant in moving them to smart-city status.
“What this Government, and governments across the region must begin to consider more, is the involvement of technology in the building of cities,” he said.
Dr. Chang pointed out that the “intertwining of public and private interests in our cities is inevitable. Therefore, the earlier the buy-in and involvement of private interests, the sooner greater gains can be made for both civic and business interests”.