Innovation is like fire; it needs oxygen to survive and grow.
Since the explosion of semiconductors, in the late 1950s, Silicon Valley has provided a majority of the world’s innovation oxygen. Investment over five decades has resulted in its unrivaled innovation infrastructure: universities, investors, serial entrepreneurs, and the right balance of lifestyle.
But as markets shift, new centers of innovation emerge. Others crash. Detroit’s decades-long decline embodies how powerful centers of innovation fall.
An upcoming market shift brings us back to Singapore.
Technologists compare artificial intelligence (AI) today to the birth of the internet. If forecasts are accurate, AI will revolutionize industries, mobilize a movement of entrepreneurs and startups, and produce trillions of dollars of wealth.
Although it may have a starting advantage, Silicon Valley is not pre-ordained as the AI leader. Indeed, from NYC to Shanghai, cities are in a global competition to attract and retain talent, localize high-growth companies, and create an educational farm system for the AI industry.
Singapore is spending billions to build a city-wide, public-private platform for AI. The question will be can Singapore, like Silicon Valley fifty years ago, keep the power players close to home.