Convergent Approach Toward the 4th Industrial Revolution
Date: 2018-02-14  |  Read: 1,666

Yonsei Business Research Institute of YSB has hosted 10 lunch forums since May on the topic of the  “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” a series desined to promote interdisciplinary research and collaboration between industry and universities on the essence of this revolution, its progress, and future development and to propose to Korean firms a management paradigm suitable for this new trend.


The forums brought together researchers and professors from diverse backgrounds, including business, law, philosophy, medicine, theology, engineering, and media to share their thoughts and engage in discussion.


At the first forum, YSB professor Il Im (Information Systems) spoke on “Business Research Directions and the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” and Jung-Soo Kang (CEO of Mediati) lectured on “Optimism and Digitizing the Greenery” at the second forum.


» Hyuk-Seung Yang, Director of the Yonsei Business Research Institute, “Changes in the Employment Ecosystem in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a Corresponding Strategy” (September 14)



Professor Hyuk-Seung Yang pointed out that there is no clear agreement on a definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what differentiates it from the Third Industrial Revolution that was based on digital technology. He explained that the accumulation of Big Data in the digital world and the development of artificial intelligence as an efficient analytical tool to better predict the future are proof of the change underway.


Using a study by Frey & Osborne (2013) at Oxford University and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2016), he explained both the optimistic and pessimistic views of the impact of such change on employment. He emphasized the possibility of deepening income inequality because of technological change. Based on numerous data from Korea and the United States, Professor Yang explained the “decoupling phenomenon” in which labor productivity increases while income stagnates and noted a trend in which income inequality worsens as the top 0.01% increases its share of income through high levels of education and high levels of income.


» Professor Sang-Oh Lee, “Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” (September 28)



Professor Sang-Oh Lee of the College of Education of Yonsei University said the role of education has been declining during the second and third industrial revolutions, unlike its golden age during the first Industrial Revolution in which labor moved from farm to factory.


He emphasized that the coming era is no longer about education but about learning focused on self-directed learning in which the role of a professor changes from teacher or lecturer to guide, counselor, or mentor.


Professor Lee explained that self-directed learning and self-management differ from what has gone before because self-directed learning is educational intervention to encourage learners to immerse themselves in something through conversation, interaction, and debate as members of communities. “The essence of education is to awake the creative instincts of humans. This creation comes from persistent debate and conversation with others,” he said, using as examples Kant, who kept engaging in conversation with his neighbors, and Steve Jobs, who constantly participated in communication and debate.


» Professor Yong Lim, “Tech Wars, Episode I - Return of the Conglomerate: Throwback or Dawn of a New Series?” (October 12)



Professor Yong Lim of the Seoul National University School of Law emphasized that business diversification by Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Facebook, and Apple needs to be analyzed from a new perspective because it differs from previous models of conglomerates. In the past, business diversification and formation of conglomerates were strategies to reduce the risk of economic volatility and increase financial stability. Recently, however, three factors became important in business diversification — decision making, which includes proactive management of loss of market status because of new entrants; expansion of contacts with customers; and gains in efficiency improvement because of increasing volumes of data. He added that because gaining access to the daily lives of customers has become one of the most important factors of competition, formation of IT/digital conglomerates should be approached as “access competition.”


He thus emphasized that traditional anti-monopoly theory must be applied cautiously to recent business diversification in the IT industry because this diversification divergences from that of the past. As a result, he said, there is an equal need for a new analytical framework to apply to these circumstances. In addition, he said, more attention should be given to the potential danger to society of the concentration of information held by these new conglomerates that lies outside the constraints of traditional anti-monopoly laws.


» Professor Hyung Chul Kim, “Robots and Ethics” (October 26)



Yonsei philosophy Professor Hyung Chul Kim, predicting the emergence in the future of a heated debate about robots and ethics, spoke about a society in which robots and humans confront each other. He first proposed as a debate topic, “Can robots make ethical decisions?” He said ethical decisions are closely related to feelings of pain and pleasure, and human can feel those emotions through introspection, but robots do not have such a mechanism. Robots’ reactions to sensors are merely mimicking human’s pain or pleasure and hardly considered as “feeling the emotions.” He added there is insufficient evidence to decide whether AlphaGo, a computer game that plays the game Go, has a sense of identity.


Professor Kim finished his presentation by saying, “As super intelligence emerges, there is no guarantee that robots and human will never come into conflict with each other. Thus, it is necessary to draw a “big picture” of future society, and philosophy can play an important role in such a process.” 


» Media Tech Lab Director Sungkyu Lee, “The Future of Media” (November 9)



Sungkyu Lee, Media Tech Lab Director at Mediati, analyzed the reasons for crises such as falling revenue, declining news reach, overproduction, and discrediting that “legacy media” (old media), represented by newspapers, have faced. He narrowed the cause down to the diversity found in news production-circulation-consumption that technological change has brought about.   


He said legacy media has been unable to deal with change effectively because of the rigidity of their organizational culture and a lack of acceptance and flexibility of talents in technology. Despite these limitations, The New York Times, one of the major legacy media, is pursuing change through reforming itself and acquiring digital media.


On the other hand, new media start-ups approach readers with vertical targeting instead of mass targeting. Once media start-ups succeed in one area, they then vertically expand within their area or expand horizontally into different areas. In addition, they are devising diverse revenue models such as sponsored articles, memberships, sale of products, and paid subscriptions.


The future of media depends on producing news and revenue model focused on readers, storytelling with diversified sensation, building trust, and securing transparency. Media will eventually set a target of delivering more news in faster and more convenient ways to individuals, not mass, readers, who are far away.


» Doctor Young Seok Han, “Intelligence Production and Value Depreciation” (November 16)



Doctor Young Seok Han of Mobigen said that humans’ ability to think abstractly can be considered the first step of intelligence and entropy law can show how artificial intelligence realizes it.


Intellectual activities can be explained as expressions of knowledge (=reasoning=awareness=learning) and understanding language (=expression of common sense), and these two topics are part of the semantics of linguistics because they deal with the question, “What is thinking”? Deep learning technology that includes artificial intelligence has shown impressive progress and results but nevertheless failed to answer why deep networks yield such good results. To find an answer to this question, it is necessary to use the laws of entropy to revisit abstraction as a reasoning process.


When entropy decreases over time, system pathways will contain less ambiguity. This less ambiguous state can be understood as abstraction. In other words, thinking and abstraction mean a decrease in entropy. If information is thought of as a scale, the abstraction process refers to a decrease in the number and distance of information. Because the amount and distance of information can be measured in Euclidean space, we can explain deep learning, development of efficient learning methods, and eventually answer a question of semantics.


» Professor Kun Ho Rah, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Past, Present, and Future of Robotic Surgery”



Professor Kun Ho Rah of the Robotic Surgery Center of Yonsei Severance Hospitalintroduced the application of medical robots and emphasized that changes in medical systems may become more important than changes in medical technology.He also explained the reason why the introduction and development of robotic surgery at Yonsei Severance Hospital succeeded


Medical technology in the future may be faced with massive changes related to data. For example, when a medical data center can be stored and operated outside hospitals, customized diagnosis and prescription through a personal communications terminal will be possible, even before any issue arises. People will be provided with robotic services unknown in traditional medical systems such as nursing, ward rounds, assistance with rehabilitation, baths, meals, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.


Remote surgery, minimally invasive surgery, surgery planning and education are expected to achieve outstanding progress with digital data and robots. The introduction of robots at Yonsei Severance Hospital has been one of the most successful cases in the world, a success made possible by an infrastructure suitable for robotic surgery, leadership in guiding new projects, and collaboration between the hospital, material engineering, and electronics engineering.


» Professor Mee-Hyun Chung, “God and Humanity in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Example of the Reformation in Switzerland’ (December 7)  



Professor Mee-Hyun Chung of the United Graduate School of Theology of Yonsei University said it is important to consider ethical questions related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution based on the theology of Hudrich Zwingli (1484-1531), who led the Reformation in Switzerland.


The ultimate purpose of the Reformation in Switzerland as led by Zwingli was true humanization, she said, not consecration of humans. The Reformation proposed three social problems that included a monopoly of knowledge by the clergy, the fusion of technology and content represented by translation and distribution of the Bible, and the need for social reformation through religion that aims at a common good.


Some people say the Reformation played a role in approving interest and capital and establishing labor ethics based on capitalism, but others emphasize other parts of the Reformation such as the prohibition of usury and emphasis on community spirit, including the wealth shared by society.


Zwingli argued, “We are obligated to devote our faith to God, justice, and purity to our neighbors and mercy to people who suffer.” Professor Chung said the discussion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be concluded by the issue of cooperation, empathy, and the weak, and emphasized that we must recognize the legacy of the Reformation based on social ethics.

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