IT chiefs meet to discuss future tech development

Information technology specialists went over a variety of issues yesterday at the Seoul Digital Forum, which ends today at the Seoul Sheraton Walkerhill. [YONHAP]

The heads of major information technology and telecommunications firms met at the Seoul Sheraton Walkerhill yesterday to discuss how this time, the revolution will be digitized.
At the Seoul Digital Forum yesterday, delegates offered a host of forecasts for how the “digital revolution” could shape the future. Klaus Kleinfield, head of Siemens, said that technology has the potential to make life in cities more “liveable”; Nam Joong-soo, president of KT Corp., predicted that innovation and digital intelligence will enhance people’s brainpower over the next decade, and Paul Jacobs, chief executive of Qualcomm, forecast other amalgamations of human and machine intelligence.
Steven Ballmer, head of Microsoft Corp., asserted that most information will become digitized and that the pencil and paper will disappear.
“Some people wonder whether the next 10 years will be as exciting and dynamic as the past 10 years,” said Mr. Ballmer. “I predict [they’ll be] even more so. Ten years from now, your computer will understand you and you will be able to get systems to cooperate in amazing ways.”
Mr. Kleinfield marveled at the pace of change over the past decade. “I cannot believe how it was when the world wasn’t digital,” he said.
Yet in the future, he added, digital solutions should be applied to make life better for city dwellers.
“For the first time in history, we will have more people living in cities. We need to change things to make things more liveable. For instance, telematics can make traffic more seamless or save power, since the planet suffers from vast issues of lack of energy,” Mr. Kleinfield said.
Mr. Jacobs said that in the future, it will not be access to information, but the notion of eliminating or preventing access to information that people will be interested in. Using the example of tracking devices on cell phones that enable, say, family members to keep track of your movements, Mr. Jacobs said that companies would be very interested in getting hold of such information.
“This issue of privacy is going to be increasingly important to consumers,” he said. On the other hand, advances in such personalized technology will open up more opportunities, especially in the healthcare sector. Pointing out that costs of healthcare are rising dramatically, Mr. Jacobs said that phones that can transmit medical data directly to your doctor mean money will be saved through less time spent in hospitals.
Mr. Kleinfield said that he personally wanted to see the healthcare sector more digitized because of his extensive travels abroad. “I would like an electronic patient record that doctors can access worldwide. My mother is 84 and I wish she could have [such a service],” he said.
But Mr. Nam, from KT, pointed out that services must be made available and easy to use for everyone. “For instance, online real estate trading is becoming quite common, but the older generation needs to be educated to take advantage of this kind of service,” he said.

by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily

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