Monday, October 16, 2017

Korea's current buzzword: The 4th Industrial Revolution

In South Korea these days, the media are full of references to the "fourth industrial revolution."  Every week seems to bring news of another international conference or ministry pronouncement about this revolution, as if it were an accepted reality.  In fact, it is not universally accepted, and only in South Korea is the "fourth industrial revolution" so widely discussed and accepted.
I did a bit of quick research using Google Trends.   The first graphic (click for a full size version) shows patterns of worldwide search activity on Google for "fourth industrial revolution" and "third industrial revolution" from 2010 through the present.  Note that the "third industrial revolution" is the title of a book published in 2011 by Jeremy Rifken, who himself disputes the claim that we have entered a "fourth industrial revolution."  Not coincidentally, global search activity for "third industrial revolution" peaked in 2011, when Rifken's book was published.  Similarly, searches for "fourth industrial revolution" peaked starting in January of 2016 when Klaus Schwab convened the World Economic Forum around that theme and released his short book on the subject.
However, looking at global search patterns over time is only part of the picture.  As shown in the second world map graphic (click for a full size version) which I captured while hovering over the dark red shading on South Korea, the search intensity index for Korea was 100 or highest in the world.  The next highest index was 69 in South Africa.  Interestingly, there was 0 search intensity in South Korea for "third industrial revolution."
For those of you interested in why Rifkin disagrees with Klaus Schwab's contention that we've entered a "fourth industrial revolution," I refer you to his argument in the Huffington Post.   Despite being a buzzword here in Korea, perhaps there are good reasons that it hasn't caught on all around the world.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ITU Book launched October 11

The book mentioned in my previous post,  ICT-centric economic growth, innovation and job creation, was officially launched on October 11 in Buenos Aires Argentina. (click on the photograph taken at the launch for a full size version) A free copy of the book can be downloaded at this hyperlink.   Also, interviews with the experts who authored chapters can be viewed by clicking on their names under the photographs at the bottom of this ITU web page.  I authored Chapter 7, entitled "The Future of ICT-driven Education for Sustainable Development."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Interview in conjunction with ITU book launch

Over the past year I've had the privilege of working with a group of experts assembled by the ITU to author a new book entitled ICT-centric economic growth, innovation and job creation.  The book will be launched on October 11th at a Ministerial Roundtable on ICTs 4 SDGs in Buenos Aires Argentina.  I authored Chapter 7 entitled "The Future of ICT-driven Education for Sustainable Development.   A description of the book and links to interviews with all of the experts who contributed can be found at this hyperlink.  My interview is embedded in this post for your convenience.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Russia provides new Internet connection for North Korea

Martyn Williams of 38North highlights a very interesting development in his latest post.   He reports that "A major Russian telecommunications company appears to have begun providing an Internet connection to North Korea. The new link supplements one from China and will provide back-up to Pyongyang at a time the US government is reportedly attacking its Internet infrastructure and pressuring China to end all business with North Korea.The connection, from TransTeleCom, began appearing in Internet routing databases at 09:08 UTC on Sunday, or around 17:38 Pyongyang time on Sunday evening. Internet routing databases map the thousands of connections between telecom providers and enable computers to figure out the best route to a destination."  Prior to this, Internet users in North Korea were all funneled through a China Unicom Link.
As shown on the accompanying graphic (click for a full size version) TransTeleCom's fiber network extends right up to its border with North Korea.  The significance of this development lies in the context of current efforts by the United Nations and the international community to sanction and economically isolate North Korea.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Trump-DPRK War of Words and the Pyeongchang Olympics: Some echoes from the 1988 Games in Seoul?

As reported quite widely in the international media, the war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leadership has sparked concern in some nations about security for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.  For example, as reported by Deutsche Welle, responsible officials in both Austria and France have publicly indicated that, if security deteriorates, their teams will not attend.
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place almost exactly three decades after the highly successful Seoul Olympics.   As described in the following excerpt from my 1993 book with Heung Soo Park (downloadable full-text from Google Books) a political crisis also threatened the successful hosting of the 1988 Olympics.
"By June 1987, the political crisis in South Korea had deepened and was receiving considerable attention from the international media. This led several cities, including Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York, to publicly express their interest in staging the 1988 Games if Seoul was unable to host them because of the unrest. IOC President Samaranch was repeatedly asked about the possibility of moving the Games from Seoul. On July 9, he stated,
"It will be Seoul only. I don't know any other solution. If there will be no games in Seoul, there will be no games at all next year. We are not considering any other city as an organizing post. They've had outstanding preparations in Seoul and I can say that never has any city showed such a degree of preparation. They do have some internal problems in South Korea, but I think that situation is improving. We have received some very good news recently." (Larson and Park, Global Television and the Politics of the Seoul Olympics, Boulder: Westview Press, 1993, pp. 160-161)"
To be sure, the current crisis on the Korean peninsula is of a different nature and on a different scale than the one faced back in 1987.  Three decades ago, the world was still living in the industrial mass media era, although on the verge of the digital network revolution.   The common denominator is that the full success of the Pyeongchang Games depends, as did the 1988 Seoul Olympics, on the assurance of a safe environment for the athletes, coaches, staff and spectators.