Friday, December 29, 2017

"Fourth Industrial Revolution" fever in Korea

In mid October I posted about Korea's seeming preoccupation with the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," a concept introduced at the World Economic Forum in 2016 by Klaus Schwab and outlined in a small book published that same year.  I should have noted that a few days earlier President Moon Jae-In had officially launched the Presidential Fourth Industrial Revolution Committee.   In doing so, as reported on, he emphasized a "people-centered fourth industrial revolution."
Whether we are indeed in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, or as Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution argues, we are still early in a third such revolution, Korea has latched onto the concept.
As evidence, note the accompanying graphic (click for a full size version) from an article in the Korea Joongang Daily, entitled "R&D Policy Stresses Connectivity."  It starts with a list of "Major government goals for the fourth industrial revolution" all of which relate to digital networks and related digital technologies.   This short blog post is not the place to get into an in-depth analysis of why and whether we are in the third or fourth industrial revolution, but I believe that all who seek to better understand the contemporary digital revolution need to address such questions.  That will be one focus of my teaching and research in 2018.

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