Monday, July 15, 2019

Japan trade dispute reveals risks of over-dependence on ICT hardware manufacturing

On July 1 Japan announced that it would tighten restrictions on the export to Korea of three materials that are essential for the manufacture of semiconductors, displays and smart phones.  The materials are are fluorinated polyimide, high-purity hydrogen fluoride, and photoresist.  As widely reported in the Korean press, Japan controls a dominant share of the global market for  these materials.
Regardless of how this trade dispute may be resolved, it illustrates a topic of concern in this blog, namely Korea's heavy dependence on manufacture and export of hardware versus software and services.  For example, see these posts.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Naver hires MIT professor Kim Sangbae: Naver Labs in the robotics industry

As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, Naver Labs has hired MIT professor Kim Sangbae as a technical consultant.  Readers of this blog will know that I met and first posted in 2009 about Mr. Kim's role in the creation of a Gecko-like robot called "Stickybot." (see earlier posts here)  According to the Korea Joongang Daily article, Professor Kim will be advising on a range of possibilities, including the use of bio-mimetic robots to analyze location data and help in drawing high definition 3D maps for autonomous vehicles.  Congratulations to both Naver and Prof. Kim!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The November 2017 Pohang Earthquake Likely Human-caused!

This post concerns the unexpected side effects that science and technology can sometimes create.  As reported widely in the local media, including the Korea Joongang Daily, citizens from Pohang demonstrated outside the national assembly yesterday to demand compensation for damage caused by the November 2017 earthquake.
The quake was the second largest to hit Korea and my wife and I felt it in our apartment here in Songdo (Incheon).
As reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, "An international research group led by the Geological Society of Korea announced in March that the quake in Pohang in November 2017 was likely triggered by the government’s geothermal power experiments. The group analyzed 520 earthquakes in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, from January 2009 to November 2017, of which around 240 took place within three miles of a site where the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy were experimenting with the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS), a technology that turns geothermal power into electricity and involves the fracturing of hot underground rock with pressurized liquid, known as hydraulic stimulation. According to the group, there were at least five hydraulic stimulations from the EGS experiments that significantly disturbed faults in the area, which, in turn, triggered the Pohang earthquake in November 2017."

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Second edition of Digital Development in Korea forthcoming

I'm pleased to let readers of this blog know that the second edition of my book with Dr. Oh Myung (I am the second author) will be published this summer, with a new subtitle.  The full  title is Digital Development in Korea:  Lessons for a Sustainable World
Digital development in Korea, with its world-leading networks, is a moving target!  Dr. Oh and I had thought a second edition would be needed after about five years, but other important matters required attention.  Nevertheless, this new book benefited greatly from my work at SUNY Korea over the past five years.  Also, it goes without saying that Dr. Oh's authorship of this volume makes it a unique and important account of what I would call the modern history of Korea's ICT sector.
Some of the key additions to the new book are as follows:

  • A new chapter on sustainability and green growth, with emphasis on smart grids.
  • Another new chapter on the relationship of ICT to the Olympics (Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games and Seoul 1988 Summer Games)
  • Greater emphasis throughout on the concept of "network-centric digital development," including its origins, growth and prospects.
  • More extensive and in-depth treatment of the "telecommunications revolution of the 1980s."
During January and February of this year, Dr. Oh and I worked intensively to finalize the manuscript for submission to Routledge.  Earlier this month (May) I reviewed and commented on a copy edited version of the manuscript.  The next step will be to review the page proofs.  Consequently, I have confidence that the July 31 availability date for the printed book is accurate.  See this Routledge page for information.