Thursday, April 13, 2023

Korea's world lead in industrial robot density


As shown in this bar chart published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) in its World Robotics  2022, South Korea continues to lead the world in industrial robot density (robots installed per 10,000 employees).  It leads by quite a large margin over Singapore, Japan, Germany and China, the next top ranking countries.  As explained by the IFR "The Republic of Korea hit an all-time high of 1,000 industrial robots per 10,000 employees in 2021. This is more than three times the number reached in China and makes the country number one worldwide. With its globally recognized electronics industry and a distinct automotive sector, the Korean economy profits from two large customer industries for industrial robots."

Another graphic provided by the IFR shows the overwhelming importance of the ICT and Automotive sectors in Korea's industrial robot installations.  For those interested, the full World Robotics 2022 report provides similar data for other countries, allowing comparative analysis.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Human writer or AI? A detection model being developed at Stanford


The Human Centered Artificial Intelligence program at Stanford University reports that scholars there have built a detection program that "...can determine with up to 95% accuracy whether a large language model wrote that essay or social media post."  For more information on their efforts, use this link to the news release.

After a somewhat long hiatus in posting to my blog, I'm planning to follow developments relating to the public release of chatGPT and competing programs soon to be released by Microsoft, Facebook (Meta) and others.  This Spring semester I'm teaching both an undergraduate course on digital networks and innovation and a graduate seminar on networked communication technologies, so the development and spread of generative natural language programs is highly relevant in both classes.

Friday, January 6, 2023

More on the decline of Internet Cafes (aka PC Bangs)

 The Chosun Ilbo English edition caught my eye with the headline "Internet Cafes Vanish."  In fact, they have not vanished, but their use has declined dramatically during the Covid and post-Covid era.  For further background and detail on the Internet Cafe (AKA PC Bang) phenomenon in South Korea, search this blog ( a search on "PC Bang" yeilds this result).

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Korea to spend $144 million on digitalization of R&D

 As reported by The Korea Herald, "South Korea will spend 200 billion won ($144 million) on digital integration strategy projects over the next five years to shorten the time researchers take to solve complex problem surrounding new technologies by decades, the Ministry of Science said Tuesday."  Furthermore, the announcement indicated that "... the government will use the financial support for projects that integrate artificial intelligence, digital twin and big data into developing diagnoses of diseases such as intractable cancer and dementia, nine new materials and prediction models of changes in space."

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Revisiting the Rise and Fall of PC Bangs (a.k.a. Internet Cafes) in Korea


As readers of this blog will know, I've long been following the introduction, growth and decline of PC Bangs (literally PC Rooms), also known as Internet Cafes, in South Korea.   A search for "PC Bang" will locate a number of my earlier posts and provide some background on the main factors accounting for the emergence of PC Bangs and their eventual decline.  The graphic presented here charts the number of PC Bangs in Korea from their introduction in 1998 through 2020, as estimated by the Korea Creative Content Agency in their annual white papers on Korean games. (click on the graphic to see a full size version with the numbers legible at the top of bars)  Several patterns in this graphic are noteworthy.

First, the explosive growth in the number of PC Bangs from 1998 to 2000 coincided with the rapid growth of broadband internet services, led by Thrunet's cable modem service, followed shortly thereafter by Hanaro Telecom's entry into the market with DSL service.

Second, the decline in number of PC Bangs starting in 20010 coincided with the arrival of Apple's iPhone to the Korean market.  This arrival came two years after its introduction in the U.S. and after it had become popular in about 80 other countries.   2009 was also the year that Samsung and LG began manufacturing Android smart phones.  The improving technical capabilities of Android and Apple smart phones contributed to the growth of mobile games, at the expense of those played in PC Bangs or Arcades.

Third, from 2016 to 2019 there was a slight resurgence in the number of PC Bangs as Internet Cafe franchises entered the market and owners adapted to government regulations about the sale of food in them.