The largest robot exhibition in Korea will be held at KINTEX in Goyang, nearby Seoul, from Oct. 10 to 13. The exhibition will introduce robots that combine the latest technologies from fields such as artificial intelligence and big data. The latest science technologies introduced at this time may sound quite unfamiliar to college students. However, these technologies are actually embedded in our daily lives in a variety of forms, such as Kakao Pay and other smartphone applications. The Argus looked into The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to learn more about the latest science technologies and related services that students are actually using in their real life.
The 4IR, how are we enjoying it?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) | AI is a field of computer science and information technology that utilizes the senses cognition, and sensibility of human intelligence through computer technology. The AI includes “natural language processing” like automatic translation, an “expert system” for replacing various kinds of human tasks and “photo and voice recognition” processes.
It is easy to find popular examples of how AI is applied to Google and smartphones, especially those which are used by university students. First, Google uses this technology for photo classification and editing. Photo classification refers to creating albums by categorizing the existing photos according to the photos’ characteristics. For example, AI recognizes the kinds of pictures and categorizes them by itself, helping to sort out photos of the same person, and further classify them into the same album.
In addition, Google Translator is becoming more and more accurate as it evolves, and newly added languages are reflected instantaneously so that they can be used more effectively. Especially, abbreviations and new coinages are also translated correctly, indicating that the problems previous translators had are being remedied. Student Lim Hye-jin from the Division of Media and Communication said, “I tried new words on a translator to see if it would be translated. Surprisingly, it was completely translated. Language is just a reflection of trends as there are buzzwords and grammar changes from time to time, and Google Translator seem to have the advantage of applying them quickly to always translate best.”
AI speakers are also very popular in Korea. It offers a variety of services ranging from providing information related to real life to simple conversational practice pieces in English. In particular, Korea’s search engine Naver developed an AI speaker called Clova. The Clova combines the AI translation app with a speech recognition engine to enhance the accuracy of AI speakers. The AI speaker also offers a music streaming service, beyond simple conversational capabilities, and information about weather and movie popularity rankings.
Big Data | Big data is a technology that collects large amounts of information which it then stores, manages, and analyzes. In particular, companies need more data analytical capabilities, such as online and offline consumers’ behavioral information. There is a trend toward many services being able to provide and inform consumers of what they need, to judge their favorite consumption patterns, and to provide information related to their desires and likes.
Big data is being used in social media including YouTube, which are popular services for those in their 20s. When watching certain videos on YouTube, recommended videos appear next to them. These custom videos are presented directly on YouTube by analyzing the user’s views and interests. In addition, VIBE, a personalized music service provided by Naver, is receiving positive responses. Although it has only been three months since it was released, with big data technology behind it, the user can choose the music an individual wants, with the songs that fit one’s taste provided constantly. It reflects one’s own tastes, not the taste of others. This is the reason that it has been attracting the attention of younger users.
In addition, Internet and social media advertisements have big data-related technologies. In fact, student A from the Division of French Language said, “When I look around shopping malls to buy certain products, advertisements about the products that I recently searched for on the Internet start appearing on smartphones. It was just amazing at first, but now I think it’s better to find what I want more easily through them.” This makes it easier for college students to find the products they want, and also helps them to make reasonable purchases by comparing the prices offered by different retailers.
In addition, Naver provides the Smart Lens Service, a photo-searching function based on big data. It finds the most similar image to the user’s desired image by sifting through a vast amount of data. For example, when a person takes a picture of a certain flower, it provides the most similar image, so that the person can see various images and information about the flower.
Financial Technology (FinTech) | New financial technology aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. It has removed complicated financial procedures that required public certification in the past and brought about innovative changes in providing financial services based on Information Technology (IT) such as mobile, social media and apps. These simple payment services allow consumers to easily use simple authentication procedures, such as fingerprint recognition, when they are actually spending money.
College students are very active in using mobile payment services such as Kakao Pay, Naver Pay and Samsung Pay that applied FinTech. According to the DMC Media statistics in 2017, 82.1 percent of people in their 20s said they are using the mobile payment services. The people responded that they use these services because of the variety of locations where payment services are available and the simplicity of the procedure for registering services. In fact, student B who gave her surname as Kim said, “I think Kakao Pay is quite good for making simple payments without complicated procedures. In the old days, this kind of payment service was not actively provided, so I had to enter a credit card number with 16 digits and enter the password. Nowadays, payment is made by taking a fingerprint. It’s really convenient.”
Toss, a simplified payment application, is also popular with university students. According to App Ape Analytics, the proportion of Toss users in their 20s is 66.7 percent. One reason for this is that Toss is optimized for the ability to remit the small amounts easily, regardless of the bank. In fact, college students often split the bill for meals or drinks with friends. In addition, they have to remit the small amount of money such as a club fee to a large amount of money such as a student union fee. “Toss is good to make deals anytime, anywhere with just one click. I think it’s particularly useful for someone like me who has a lot of situations splitting bills in this regard,” student Lim Hye-jin said.
HUFS Professor’s Opinion
The best thing to look forward to in AI is “Deep Learning.” The key to this technology is that AI can learn the data itself. The current AlphaGo, which is a computer program that plays the board game Go learned from the existing knowledge. However, the AlphaGo Zero that will be shown in the future can create stronger techniques its own way. So far this level of AI is “Weak AI,” and AI that can learn on its own and think like a human is “Strong AI.” It is predicted that it will appear roughly in about 10 to 30 years by experts.
FinTech is also based on advanced mathematics and physics. In particular, finance is a difficult field to predict because many new techniques are introduced, but for the time being, it seems to be the way to maximize profits with enormous amounts of information being exchanged in a short period of time.
What the professor wants to say to students: AI has reached the stage of writing novels, painting or creating free-style music like jazz, but it is still only a stage of imitating what people do. When Strong AI appears, there will be a possibility of combining the boundaries of emotion or high value judgment such as justice and morality to staid golden pursuits. Therefore, I think that it is good for those who would lead the future to have a cautiously optimistic attitude by constantly paying attention not only to the issue of science but also to the field of humanities.
Big data is the most important part of IT leading companies like Google and Facebook. For example, even though we type the same search word, the results are different for each person. What this means is that as you use Google services, your data is already stored every time you do something on the internet. As these technologies become more and more advanced, they provide different contents according to users’ types, even if the same search terms are entered. In order to meet these different interests, the IT companies continue to collect the data. In the future, the one with the most massive amount of data will have the last laugh and will continue to provide personalized information to specific individuals.
What the professor wants to say to students: The world is just dominated by IT and has become so used to it that we do not even know it is. In the past, when I was a college student, I was thinking about what I could do with computers, and now I am thinking about what I cannot do with computers. All of this is already in our lives, and as we go on, we are more and more dependent on the latest technologies. Therefore, we are going to be using these technologies forever and exist with them. It is natural that we continue to be interested in technology as people who will coexist with technology in the future.
The 4IR technologies are actually being used in various ways in our society. These technologies are closely related to our lives now, not to the future anymore. In addition, our lives will continue to coexist with them. However, if we accept this unconditionally without any information, we cannot have a critical view on how these technologies will aftect our society. Therefore, we should continue to pay attention to them as the generation that will lead the future and continue to explore and define what future we want to create.
By Lee Jun-young
Staff Reporter of Culture Section