Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


In light of rapid climate change and increased flood occurrence, Distinguished Visiting Professor Asit K Biswas and Senior Research Fellow Dr Cecilia Tortajada, both from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS penned their views on Singapore’s flood management in a commentary published in Channel NewsAsia on 8 January. The duo shared that while Singapore’s multi-pronged approach in the development of drainage systems has been essential in effective flood mitigation, the country can do more by incorporating education and awareness programmes in its flood management strategy, as this will encourage community resilience and a better understanding of the appropriate responses in the event of a flood.

In another commentary published in The Business Times on 10 January, NUS Business Vice Dean (Graduate Studies) Professor of Marketing Jochen Wirtz envisioned the future relationship between humans and robots in delivering services. As robots do not convey feelings, Prof Wirtz sees a greater likelihood of a human-robot partnership where the robots perform analytical and cognitive tasks, as well as simple or routine roles, leaving the emotional tasks to humans. He cautioned that there are risks such as data and privacy breaches, as well as dehumanisation of and reduction of human employment in service jobs, that governments and societies may face as they become more engaged with robots, and that it requires a shift in mindset to effectively tackle these potential issues.  

On 11 January, Dr Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead (Trade and Economics) at the NUS Institute of South Asian Studies discussed the US trade deficit with India in a Financial Express opinion piece. He shared that India, which is already in trade deficit with several countries, now faces a trade policy dilemma, as capitulating to US pressure might mean yielding greater market access to American imports of automobiles and food products, which are items that India has been reluctant to lower tariffs for globally. He added that given the matter is much different from responding to challenges that are regulatory in nature, India has not been able to find a solution to counter US’s determination to wipe out trade deficits.

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