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Experts debate ways to capitalize on 4th industrial revolution

2017/10/13 14:53

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By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- A group of engineers, scholars and businessmen gathered Friday to discuss ways to master the fourth industrial revolution as the world embraces the new paradigm shift in the industrial sector that is poised to fundamentally alter human life.

The forum -- hosted by South Korea's top engineering school, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) -- brought together leading experts from the government, academia and industries as the world undergoes rapid changes.

Participants of the panel exchanged opinions on their thoughts on whether the revolution could either widen or narrow future income gaps and employment opportunities, and how leaders and government can ensure technological change is inclusive and human-centered.

"We must ensure that this change is also human centric as we look forward. We cannot leave citizens behind," said Murat Sonmez, head of the fourth industrial revolution under the WEF.

Finding new growth engines through the fourth industrial revolution for the South Korean economy is one of the key policy objectives charted out by President Moon Jae-in, as the country as a whole is overly reliant on the manufacturing sector.

"My opinion on (the Moon administration) is that it is a very bold and positive step. It shows leadership and a lot of potential for (South) Korea," Sonmez said.

Previously, President Moon has pledged to introduce a "regulatory sandbox" for new industries so that companies can freely test innovative ideas, products and services without the fetters of regulations.

The transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before and that the change must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global population, they said.

"Unlike previous industrial revolutions, the fourth one is happening much faster than we could ever predict," said Shin Sung-chul, president of the KAIST, adding that global effort is a must.

Shin also emphasized the role of education and universities, saying that core competency of the transformation relies on technicians and experts.

"We need a paradigm shift on education and to think about what kind of education we need for the next generation," the president said, noting that we must discuss the impact of three sectors -- artificial intelligence (AI), hyper connectivity, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and convergence -- on business.

Sebastian Buckup, a member of the WEF, also emphasized the role of the government and the importance of a civic society.