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Davos 2017: Global Science Outlook
President Sung-Mo Kang of KAIST participated in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting January 17-20, 2017 in Davos, Switzerland. On January 20, President Kang joined the Arena discussion on the outlook of global science in the year ahead with a group of distinguished scientists, including the Director of the US National Science Foundation, France A. Córdova, and the Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell. Under Dr. Campbell’s moderation of the session, the panelists introduced their perspectives on 2017 and engaged in free discussions among themselves and with the audience. President Kang began his talks on four major technological trends that have caught much of our attention in recent years, which he called “ICBM.” The “I” stands for the Internet of Things (IoT), “C” for cloud computing, “B” for brain, in other words, cognitive computer science such as artificial intelligence, and “M” for mobile technology that has been widely applied to unmanned ground vehicles and drones. He noted the emergence of brain research as one of the most exciting fields in the coming years, and accordingly, we will learn more about its functions and develop promising results in treating brain-related diseases, i.e., a nanoscale memory chip being inserted into a patient suffering from dementia for targeted therapy. President Kang also mentioned the role of higher education in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for example, how to foster scientists and engineers to responsibly meet with the challenges anticipated in today’s rapidly changing technological environments. He said that robots would replace many jobs, and it is important to come up with real solutions for such changes. Lastly, President Kang stressed that the scientific community should continue its efforts to communicate with the public, accurately informing them of key scientific issues and offering opportunities to hold public discussions and debates that have greater influence over society. He presented a case of Korea’s latest outbreaks of Avian Influenza that resulted in destroying hundreds of thousands of infected chickens to prevent the spread of the disease, and highlighted the need for maintaining a strong communication channel between science and the public. The full list of the participating panelists included Sung-Mo Steve Kang, President, KAIST; Marc N. Casper, President and Chief Executive Officer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA; France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), USA; and Fabiola Gianotti, Director General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland. To watch the entire discussion, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF-joYnyYa0.
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