Category Archives: Technology and Society

“New importance of humanities in fourth industrial revolution” Korea Times

Korea Times

“New importance of humanities in fourth industrial revolution”

June 30, 2018

Emanuel Pastreich




There has been much talk about the importance of the humanities in this age of rapid technological transformation and we see funding for “digital humanities” programs that provide cutting-edge communications technology that is claimed will revolutionize teaching and will provide online videos that effectively present complex information for any number of viewers around the world.

We have scholars in history and in the social sciences who have obtained funding that allows them to bring to bear advanced supercomputing technology on historical or social conundrums.

Massive amounts of textual and statistical information are analyzed by them using supercomputers, and their unexpected discoveries are presented to us via fascinating graphs and charts. Big data reveals to us new truths previously obscured ― although we cannot help but wonder if the amount of time spent reading and pondering is being drastically reduced.
Read more of this post

JoongAng Daily

“Technology and critical thinking”

April 25, 2017

Emanuel Pastreich



Koreans boast to me about their country’s latest technological developments, or express envy for technologies that other nations have mastered. After 10 years working with Korean research institutes, and observing Korean society, I am convinced that the most serious challenge Korea faces is not a lack of technology, but rather the decline of scientific thinking.

A new automobile, or robot, is presented to Koreans as something miraculous, an amazing device that can do the impossible. Although such an approach inspires awe for technological achievements, it encourages complacency in our thinking and a sharp dip in our critical analysis. Citizens should be inspired to try to understand how a smartphone works, or for that matter how the government or the economy works.

Indulging in dazzling presentations leads to impulsive decisions and sloppy thinking.

News broadcasts these days assume that the audience doesn’t want to see anything that isn’t entertaining. Complex subjects are stripped down to simplistic one-line phrases. Of course, the technology used to film and edit these short programs is state-of-the-art. Excellent broadband service provides those images instantaneously for watch

What Korea must do is insist on the rigorous application of the scientific method in education, in media and in the policy decision process. Read more of this post

“Meeting the Great Data Challenge: The Case for a Constitution of Information” in Global Asia (January 2017)






Meeting the Great Data Challenge:

The Case for a Constitution of Information



Rapid advances in technology — from exponential increases in computational power to the miniaturization of surveillance drones and other means of gathering data on all of us — combined with the increasing ability to manipulate digital information and the emergence of virtual reality as an affordable medium of experience, are posing existential questions for human civilization as we have known it for millennia. In response, Emanuel Pastreich calls for a global constitution of information.

“We need a new concept of security due to technological change and climate change” (Asia Today May 10, 2016)

Asia Today

“We need a new concept of security due to technological change and climate change”

May 10, 2016


Emanuel Pastreich


Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Even though Moore’s Law, the rule-of-thumb that computer chips double in power every two years, is drawing to a close, computers will continue to rapidly transform our world. These transformations have a profound impact on the security of nations, even though they are not well understood.
As we look towards the future, we risk spending tremendous amounts of our precious resources preparing for wars that will never happen and miss out on the chance to prepare for life and death challenges which are almost a certainty. The technology-fueled changes in the nature of national security mean that we can take our eyes off the past and re-focus our attention on real threats. – even the ones that don’t match up with our assumptions.
There are two major issues that need to be discussed openly and cooperatively between the Republic of Korea, Japan, the People’s Republic of China and the United States.
First we must consider whether technological change will render many weapons systems inappropriate in the years to come and ask ourselves whether a more profound rethinking of military issues is required, perhaps one that moves beyond the traditional nation-state assumptions we have used so far.
Second, we must consider whether we must limit the development of weapons systems, and rather turn increasingly to rigidly enforced weapons limitation treaties for fundamental ethical reasons because of the increasingly destructive potential of the next generation of weapons. We need to ask ourselves whether we will even have the budgets to pay for conventional weapons over the next twenty years in light of the tremendous costs of adaption to, and mitigation of, climate change. Could it be that we must reach binding agreements to limit, or ban, weapons so that we can effectively devote our precious resources to the basic steps required for human survival?


How technology is changing the nature of security
Will the nature of military conflict be so transformed by emerging technologies that most of our weapons systems will cease to play a meaningful role in the near future? We can’t assume that our conflicts will end or that deterrence is unnecessary. As technologies that can kill tens of thousands become cheaper and more accessible to small groups, even to individuals, we should certainly continue to think about how we will respond.
However, it is not clear that the battles of the future will be between nation states per se, which are rapidly fragmenting. Nor is it at all clear that the weapons we employed in previous conflicts will be helpful in such conflicts.
Three of the most important transformations are: 1) the emergence of drones and robots; 2) the sophistication of cyber warfare and 3) the emergence of 3D printing and other means of transmitting objects through non-conventional means.
The conventional military is made up of tanks, fighter planes, missiles and battleships and aircraft carriers, all of which are extremely expensive and vulnerable to these new weapons. Read more of this post

“Distinguishing science from technology” (JoongAng Daily March 7, 2016)

JoongAng Daily

“Distinguishing science from technology”

March 7, 2016

Emanuel Pastreich

I worked very closely with several national research institutes in Daedeok Valley back in 2008-10, and I participated in many heated conversations with the researchers working there about the future of Korea’s science and technology. At the time the researchers lamented the fact that Korea had lost the Ministry of Science and Technology that they associated with Korea’s rapid industrialization and long-term support of research.

But I must admit that I had a very different idea concerning this issue which I did not dare tell anyone. I felt that rather than reestablishing the Ministry of Science and Technology, Korea rather should split the “science” and “technology” apart and create a Ministry of Education and Science and a Ministry of Industry and Technology. Read more of this post

Kang Sung-mo on robotics and the 4th industrial revolution on G Lounge


February 7, 2016

Emanuel Pastreich


The Asia Institute

 steve kang on g lounge

Interview with Kang Sung-mo (Steve Kang) President of KAIST)

Arirang TV

G Lounge

“The 4th Industrial Revolution and its implications for Korea”


A discussion of robotics and their potential for Korea and for the world following Steve Kang’s visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos where the them was the 4th Industrial Revolution and what we need to do to prepare.


“Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble” Emanuel Pastreich

Emanuel Pastreich

“Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble”




This Time Magazine article “Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble”

(January 14, 2016) suggests that Wikipedia is in trouble because of some obscure cultural inflexibility. Although the problems with Wikipedia, despite its considerable popularity, are quite serious, the article intentionally misdiagnoses the problem so as to distract the reader from the real issues.

The failure of the article is perfect representation of the profound corruption of popular media in the United States. One of the most powerful myths even today is that media is simply dying because of the internet. If the information in the was sufficiently relevant and accurate, people would pay for it on-line. The problem is rather that media is increasingly written to protect special interests, rather than to deliver media. Media content is more often a mixture of propaganda with a bit of truth to make an almost convincing argument that will impact perceptions while avoiding a rational argument.

Let us look at what the article states:


“The problem, most researchers and Wikipedia stewards seem to agree, is that the core community of Wikipedians are too hostile to newcomers, scaring them off with intractable guidelines and a general defensiveness. One detailed study from 2012 found that new editors often find that their first contributions to the site are quickly rejected by more experienced users, which directly correlates with a drop in the likelihood that they will continue to contribute to the site.”


I have had a variety of battles with Wikipedians and I do not believe that they are simply hostile to new comers because of some form of cultural conservatism. They are hostile to people who have a different conception of Wikipedia which they consider to be a threat to their economic and political interests. The problem not more, or less, complex than that. Read more of this post

New Facebook layout for 2016

I have been pondering possible improvements to the format of Facebook that would have universal appeal among users. Please do look at my suggestions and let me know what you think.



facebook front page





Headings for the Facebook options:


Vote on new Facebook CEO

Vote on pending Facebook policy
Propose legislation for Facebook privacy

Suggestions for Facebook functions and policy (pending votes by Facebook citizens on policy)

Election of Facebook congress to represent your interest groups
Full disclosure of all Facebook financial transactions
Your Facebook stock value (amount acquired in return for the content you produced)
Your royalties today for the content you have produced for Facebook

Archive of Facebook postings
Post news
Review and correct news posted on major media
Find people with similar concerns globally
Organize a political party
Launch a class action lawsuit against a multinational corporation


Design your own emoticon

Write your literary work

Sell your design or work

Buy designs and texts
Develop business relations with other small businesses around the world

Find out rates for cancer and other diseases in your region
Update on air and water pollution in your region
Compare malpractice cases for doctors in your region
Where produce sold in local stores is produced and amounts of contaminant found


Post to Media:

Personal Post (privacy setting):

Entertainment Post

Your art:
Whistleblowing (corporate or government):

Facebook Search (select browser or create browser with your community):

“IT 시대, ‘필담’ 전통으로의 회귀가 필요하다” (월간 과학과 기술 2015년 12월 )

월간 과학과 기술


2015년 12월


“IT 시대, ‘필담’ 전통으로의 회귀가 필요하다”




임마누엘 페스트라이쉬  


아시아 전역의 전문가들이 국제회의 참석 차 모여 있을 때가 있다. 아마도 정부 장관, 교수나 사업가일 텐데 서로 어색하게 악수하고, 서투른 영어로 가볍게 인사를 나누다가 성급하게 대화를 끊고 서로에게서 떨어진다. 필자는 이런 모습을 목격할 때마다 민망해진다.


심도 있는 정보교환 이끄는 국제회의 환경 필요

이런 전문가들을 집결하는데 필요한 비행기 티켓 값과 호텔 숙박비는 값비싸다. 그런데도 전문가들 사이에 진지한 대화는 거의 오가지 않는다. 공유할 수 있는 엄청난 양의 지식과 경험이 있는데도 말이다. 정부나 산업체에 의해 마련된 비용이 많이 드는 큰 행사임에도 불구하고, 안타깝지만 대부분의 경우, 전문가들은 도착했을 때와 마찬가지로 돌아갈 때도 여전히 서로 전혀 알지 못 한다. 비싼 식사 모임을 갖는다고 해서 추후 협력에 대한 약속으로 이어지거나, 같은 행사에 참석한 다른 전문가의 지혜와 지식을 알게 되는 것도 아니다.

국제 정상회담과 회의에 참석하는 아시아 전역의 대표들에게 시간제한 없이 진지하게 대화할 기회가 생긴다면, 서로에게서 엄청난 양의 지식을 얻을 수 있을 것이다. 예를 들면, 다른 나라의 동료 전문가들이 자국에서 어떤 방식으로 새로운 혁신적 행정 전략을 사용하는지 배우고, 그 방식을 채택해 사용할 수도 있다. 또는 제조업에서 사용되는 새 기술이 어떻게 생산성을 크게 향상시킬 수 있는지 배울 수도 있다. Read more of this post

Why the U.S. should take a stand on autonomous weapons

The United States has not embraced any such treaty limiting the development of robots and drone for military use. But the United States would be serving its own strategic interests if it did. The odds that the United States will win such a race, considering the rate at which the cost of creating drones is dropping, is low. Better to buy into a global treaty now, while you still can.

Recently, an open letter entitled “Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers” was released at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries on July 28, 2015. The letter spells out the basic terms for such an international treaty.  robotdrone1