Experts say CT is important, question pace

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Experts say CT is important, question pace

Just how important is converging technology? During his visit to Korea in 2005, famed futurist Alvin Toffler went so far as to state that Korea’s development “hinges on converging technology.”

The JoongAng Sunday met with experts in various fields to see what they had to say about the importance of the field. They all agreed it is urgent. The reason: Times are changing.

“As a philosopher, the most pressing issues in the 21st century concern questions surrounding psychological and environmental issues,” said Kim Ki-hyeon, a professor of philosophy at Seoul National University. “To comprehensively delve into these issues, we not only need to pay attention to science and technology but also humanities and social research.”

Professor Han Sung-kuk in the division of electric and electronic engineering at Wonkwang University is currently conducting a research on computers and linguistics.

“A culmination of linguistics, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and computer science are absolutely necessary,” Han said.

Lee Kum-woo, a professor at Seoul National University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Advanced Institute of Convergence Technology agreed.

“A combination of IT, biotechnology and mechanical and aerospace engineering are currently being used to develop medical equipment for the disabled. The question of how much our project can improve the lives of disabled people and at the same time estimate if the project is a socially and economically realistic project cannot be gauged by the minds of engineers alone.”

Some experts were skeptical of the current level of convergence in research and technology development. There was no consensus that convergence was taking shape efficiently.

“While researchers need to cooperate with each other, in reality, many of them carry on individually within their own groups without clear knowledge of what the other researchers are doing. Although convergence appears to be taking shape, in actuality, what is happening cannot be labeled as convergence,” said Professor Kim Hak-soo of Sogang University’s department of mass communication.

Some said that a faulty education system and curriculum in Korea is the fundamental problem.

The division of science and humanities curricula in Korean high school was singled out.

“Korea views humanities and sciences as totally separate entities and therefore convergence is looked upon as unnatural in many cases,” said professors Lim Ji-soo and Kim Young-shik of Seoul National University’s department of physics and astronomy.

By Kwon Suk-chun JoongAng Sunday []
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