To: The delegates of HC-APYLS 2022
Subject: Cyberspace: Connecting Leaders, Conceptualising Ideas, Catalysing Change
The Metaverse. Blockchain. Cryptocurrency. NFTs. Generative AI. These are catch phrases of today’s milieu. While much remains uncertain about the future, one thing is for certain—the fourth wave of the industrial revolution is fully upon us. Technology has improved living standards, accelerated the diffusion of education, revolutionised labour and cast a new dye upon the fabric of our society. The digital world has created numerous opportunities for growth, improvement and development, however, the fault lines that emerged after the pandemic remain, carving a deep digital divide between more developed countries and less developed countries. These chasms include but are not limited to: exacerbated socio-economic inequalities, the unequal distribution of Internet access, increased polarisation on social media and the climate crisis.
Clearly, recent and future advancements in technology will bring about unprecedented levels of convenience and efficiency which we await with eager anticipation. But in the midst of all this, have we truly considered the implications of such cutting-edge developments, both now and in the future? What might we stand to lose while we seemingly gain? Novel innovations like Bitcoin bring a whole new dimension to e-finance, but what will we do when the demand for mining for it translates into astronomical levels of energy consumption—levels that we cannot replenish? Pandemic-driven work-from-home models seem to tap on the best parts of both the office and home, but what will we do when our laptops become a means through which work pervades our lives - will our mental wellbeing be compromised? As countries move their infrastructure online, citizens can benefit from the digital connectivity, but what will we do when this infrastructure becomes vulnerable to cyberespionage and cyberattacks? The pandemic’s toll on countries has not been equal, with the vaccine gap contributing to a prolonged stasis in developing countries and a limiting of their productivity as the pandemic ravages on. More developed countries, on the other hand, have been able to continue developing, therefore causing the technological divide between countries to widen. Can governments, communities and individuals work together to narrow these gaps? These are core areas of concern that APYLS 2022 hopes to table for discussion.
The digital future has arrived and we must stay connected and cognisant of what is happening globally, so that we may build a better future together. This is what the 15th HC-APYLS is about—Connecting leaders, conceptualising ideas, catalysing change.
The 15th HC-APYLS Organising Committee