Category Archives: Technology and Society

Pastreich & Kurzweil at RISE Conference in Seoul

Director Emanuel Pastreich and Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity is Now and director of engineering at Google before their keynote speeches at RISE (research, innovation, start-up & employment), a conference held on May 21, 2013 at COEX Korea by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

2013 05 21 COEX pastreich kurzweil


Text of Pastreich’s presentation

Constitution of Information proposal


Emanuel Pastreich & Ray Kurzweil Deliver Keynote Speeches at RISE: Research, Innovation, Start-up and Employment Conference

RISE: Research, Innovation, Start-up and Employment

Korea Science and ICT Conference 2013

COEX, Seoul, Korea

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Presented by

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning


Sponsored by

KOSA, AhnLab, SK Telecom, KT, LG U+, Samsung Electronics, KISIA, TTA, RAPA, KAIT, KICA.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Planning will hold the Korea Science and ICT Conference 2013 on the theme of “Research, Innovation, Start-up and Employment” (hereafter “RISE”). The purpose of this Conference is to realize national growth and job expansion by encouraging the establishment of start-ups and ventures, and to lay a foundation for industrial development and economic growth through research and development in science technology and ICT.

Keynote Speeches

9:30-11:40 AM


First Keynote Speech

Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering, Google, USA

 ray k

RAY KURZWEIL is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS selected him as one of the “sixteen revolutionaries who made America.” Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds nineteen honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents. Ray has written seven books, five of which have been national best sellers. The Singularity is Near and Ray’s latest book How to Create a Mind have been New York Times Bestsellers. Ray was recently appointed Director of Engineering at Google.


Second Keynote Speech


Emanuel Pastreich

Professor, College of International Studies at Kyung Hee University

Director, The Asia Institute

 lecture on literature

Emanuel Pastreich is professor at the College International Studies at Kyung Hee University and director of the Asia Institute in Seoul. His current research is divided between his work on technology and its impact on society and the impact of the Chinese literary tradition in Korea and Japan.

Pastreich founded the Asia Institute in 2007, a think tank that coordinates research between experts in Asia and the rest of the world on the intersection of technology, the environment and international relations. Programs run by The Asia Institute include: the Korea India Business and Technology Initiative (with the Indo-Korea Business and Policy Forum), the Biotechnology Initiative, the Nuclear Power Program, 3E (Environment, Energy, Economy) Program, the Asia Ecocity Coalition (with Ecocity Builders) and the Convergence Technology Program.


for registration and further information




大田三川: “과학·자연·예술 융합된 생태도시 대전을 꿈꿉니다” (대덕넷)


2013년 3월 6일 


“과학·자연·예술 융합된 생태도시 대전을 꿈꿉니다”

이만열 경희대 교수, 대전의 하천 형상화한 포스터 제작
하천로고 머그컵 이어 ‘대전삼천 포스터’로 대전사랑 지속


이주원 기자



“대전의 하천은 참 멋있습니다. 이 하천을 중심으로 앞으로 대전이 자연과 과학, 예술이 융합된 멋진 생태도시가 되길 바랍니다”

이만열 경희대 국제대학원 교수. 한국말을 유창하게 구사하는 외국인 교수로 유명한 그가 이번에 대전의 삼대하천을 모티브로 한 포스터를 소개하며 한 말이다.



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Oped: “On Climate, Defense Could Preserve and Protect, Rather Than Kill and Destroy”


On Climate, Defense Could Preserve and Protect, Rather Than Kill and Destroy

Thursday, 07 March 2013 10:34

Holding the line against the Kubuchi Desert.

One hundred groggy Korean college students stumble off the train in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, blinking in the bright sunlight. A 14-hour train ride from Beijing, Baotou is by no means a popular destination for Seoul’s youth, but then this is no shopping excursion.

A short, elderly man in a bright green jacket leads the students through the crowd in the station, hurriedly giving orders to the group. In contrast to the students, he does not appear tired at all; his smile is unimpaired by the journey. His name is Kwon Byung-Hyun, a career diplomat who served as the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to China from 1998 to 2001. Whereas his portfolio once covered everything from trade and tourism to military affairs and North Korea, Ambassador Kwon has found a new cause that demands his full attention. At 74 years of age, he has no time to see his colleagues who are busy playing golf or for indulging in hobbies. Ambassador Kwon is in his little office in Seoul on the phone and writing letters to build an international response to the spread of deserts in China – or he is here, planting trees.

Kwon speaks in a relaxed and accessible manner, but he is anything but easy-going. Although it takes him two days to get from his home in the hills above Seoul to the front line of the Kubuchi desert as it makes its ineluctable way southeast, he makes the trip often, and with enthusiasm.

The Kubuchi Desert has expanded so that it is just 450 kilometers west of Beijing Read more of this post

“Greed, Capitalism and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” in The Hangyoreh

The Hangyoreh

March 4, 2013


Greed, Capitalism and the Second Law of Thermodynamics


By Emanuel Pastreich


Many lament  our consumer culture and the ruthlessness and selfishness of today‘s people. The phenomenon of blind consumption is undeniable, and its damage to the ecosystem and to humanity itself is increasingly the primary threat we face. But the ultimate cause of such consumption is far from clear. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is to assume that because a trend is manifest that it necessarily has a single cause. Simple trends can be generated through the interference of complex factors.

There is great enthusiasm for employing the word “capitalism” to describe the run-away quality of contemporary consumer society, and increasingly that term is used by groups that we think of as both left and right.

But the word “capitalism” is rather ambiguous and its use obscures as much as it illuminates. To start with, that term suggests that the problems we are facing today, from climate change to the destabilization of markets and the disruption of economic systems through the globalization of production and distribution, are somehow just a repeat of the industrial revolution that socialists and communists denounced as “capitalism” in the nineteenth century. Read more of this post

Asia Institute Report: “Proposal for a Constitution of Information”


The Asia Institute released a report on March 3, 2013 in which it makes a proposal for a “constitution of information” to respond to the challenges posed by the information revolution.

Proposal for a Constitution of Information

March 3, 2013

Emanuel Pastreich





When David Petraeus resigned as CIA director afteran extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was exposed, the problem of information security gained national attention. The public release of personal e-mails in order to impugn someone at the very heart of the American intelligence community raised awareness of e-mail privacy issues and generated a welcome debate on the need for greater safeguards. The problem of e-mail security, however, is only the tip of the iceberg of a far more serious problem involving information with which we have not started to grapple. We will face devastating existential questionsin the years ahead as human civilization enters a potentially catastrophic transformation—one driven not by the foibles of man, but rather by the exponential increase in our capability to gather, store, share, alter and fabricate information of every form, coupled with a sharp drop in the cost of doing so.Such basic issues as how we determine what is true and what is real, who controls institutions and organizations, and what has significance for us in an intellectual and spiritual sense will become increasingly problematic. The emerging challenge cannot be solved simply by updating the 1986 “Electronic Communications Privacy Act” to meet the demands of the present day;[1] it will require a rethinking of our society and culture and new, unprecedented, institutions to respond to the challenge. International Data Corporation estimated the…

Full report here.

The Asia Institute Seminar The Fight to preserve our soil and our future: “Culture is our greatest asset”

The Asia Institute Seminar

The Fight to preserve our soil and our future: “Culture is our greatest asset”

December 20, 2012


With David Montgomery


Department of Earth and Space Sciences

University of Washington

Professor Montgomery, professor of geomorphology and topography at University of Washington and recipient of the MacArthur fellowship, has researched the impact of soil and water on civilizations over the last several thousand years. He has uncovered disturbing long-term implications of our current use of land that should cause everyone to stop and think. His book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations has garnered international attention for its succinct description of the value and fragility of soil, and argues that soil should be considered as a geostrategic resource. Once soil is gone, he suggests, it cannot be easily replaced, and the rate of the increase in the demand for food in the coming century will force us to consider the sustainability of agriculture to our lives.

Emanuel Pastreich

Why is it that desertification and the loss of soil does not get the attention it deserves at high-level discussions concerning the environment?

David Montgomery

Well, desertification does tend to be the forgotten issue. If we look at the areas of the world that are most venerable to climate change, there are three that immediately come to mind. One is coastal regions that are immediately impacted by rising sea levels. The second is the boreal regions where the frozen tundra that is now heating up and profoundly effecting the environment. That trend, combined with the melting of the icecaps will have deep implications for our climate. Both of these trends have received substantial attention. The third is the semi-arid regions around the world that get less attention but have the broadest impact for human settlements. Semi-arid regions are quite sensitive to climate shifts and also to even small changes in  [more] 



Asia Institute Insight: Does National Security exist in slow motion?


Does National Security exist in slow motion?


link here


Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology as a UNESCO Centre

The Asia Institute produces Proposal for Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology as a UNESCO Category-II Centre

November 25, 2012

Emanuel Pastreich, working together with Joa Lee and the Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WISET) prepared a proposal for the promotion of that centre to a UNESCO Category-II Centre. The report involved extensive research of policies for the encouragement of girls and women to pursue careers in the sciences that are being pursued around the world.

link to The Asia Institute note

“Asia Institute Seminar on ‘Women in Science’ in Seoul”

Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report

“Asia Institute Seminar on ‘Women in Science’ in Seoul”

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The Asia Institute hosted a seminar bringing together experts from around the world to discuss the critical topic of the role of women in science and technology at the India Education Center in cooperation with the Center for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology on September 26. The participants were science attaches from the embassies of Canada, Japan, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom, India and Finland. Read more of this post