News and Events | The Asia Institute

“The Tremendous Potential of KAIST & Korea:

Opportunities for Internationals”

Emanuel Pastreich

May 28, 2013

The recent visit of Bill Gates to Seoul to explore opportunities for new business ventures represented a significant shift in the culture of Korean business and government — away from the mantra of work, work, and work — toward an emphasis on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. This transformation was palpable at a recent gathering of leading entrepreneurs from business, research and government known simply as Research, Innovation, Start-up & Employment (or RISE) that was held on May 21-22 at COEX in Seoul.

Elad Cohen Toren, founder of the StarTau program to nurture aspiring entrepreneurs in Israel, was present to advise how Korea could develop its own unique venture ecosystem. Also in attendance was Lee Sir-goo, CEO of Korea’s free mobile messaging app Kakao Talk.

The most striking moment at RISE was the pair of keynote speeches by two Americans respectively representing technology and the humanities, who embody innovation and have latched on to Korea as fertile ground for future ventures.

Ray Kurzweil, author of futurist book “The Singularity is Near,” and relentless inventor (he currently works at Google as director of engineering) spoke about the opportunities offered by the rapid technological evolution and called on Koreans to seize them. He highlighted the emergence of three-dimensional printing and the biomedical revolution for drug delivery. Kurzweil’s start-up, Kurzweil Music, now operates in Korea.

Emanuel Pastreich, director of the Asia Institute, then took the stage to present a humanist perspective on the question of accelerating technological change. Pastreich was less sanguine about the impact of rapid technological change for society, suggesting that a certain spiritual confusion could result from the profound, but invisible, shifts in how we perceive the world.

Pastreich called on Korea to take the lead in drafting a global “constitution of information” that would ensure that the information that is now produced with increasing speed remains accurate and that the information gathered through new technologies by individuals and groups is not abused.

The RISE conference marked a new level of sophistication in the country’s cultural and technological influence, bringing together outstanding talent from around the world to seek out opportunities in the midst of our age’s unprecedented challenges.

By Arthur E. Michalak 


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.

  Continue Reading

The environmental challenges we face today, from spreading deserts to rising oceans compel us to reconsider the conventional concepts of growth and recognize that they cannot be easily reconciled with the dangerous implications of runaway consumption and unlimited development.

Above all, we must get away from a speculative economy born of an irrational dependence on finance, which has becoming increasingly unstable as digital technology accelerates and financial transactions take place any objective review. We must return to a stable and long-term economy. In part that process concerns the restoration of regulation on the banking system but also the change must involve the very conception of finance and banking. Finance must be aimed at stable, long-term projects which have relevance for ordinary people.

Nothing could possibly be more helpful in this process than large scale projects to restore the environment and address the damage done to the climate by human activity. These projects are absolutely necessary for human survival and they will take decades, if not centuries, to complete. By grounding the economy in adaptation and mitigation, we can return to a predictable system in which green bonds in 30-50 year projects directly related to our well-being are dominant and we can escape from the flighty digital economy of thousands-per-second transactions. Continue Reading


Emanuel Pastreich will talk about culture and technology as part of panel “Convergence Management Panel” 융합경영 

To be held at the

Korea CEO Summit Monday, May 13, 2013 6 PM

The Palace Hotel, Seoul

CICON Conference (Creative Cities & Design Culture Convergence Industry)

Members of Convergence Management Panel:

Emanuel Pastreich (professor, Kyung Hee University)

이만열 경희대 국제대학 교수

Lee Man-Hee (former Minister of the Environment)

이만의 전 환경부장관

Lee Sanchul (CEO, LG Plus)

이상철 LG유플러스 대표이사 부회장

Chang Taepyung (CEO, Korea Racing Authority)

장태평 한국마사회 회장

Kim Sung-tae (President, National Information Society Agency)

김성태 한국정보화진흥원 원장

Kim Hyung-jun (professor, Myungji University; chairman, Korean Election Association)

김형준 명지대학교 교수 / 한국선거학회 회장

Roh Soyung, (Director, Art Center Nabi)

노소영 아트센터 나비 관장

Sung Changmo (Director, Korean Green Growth Technology Center; former CEO of the Hyosung Group)

성창모 한국녹색기술센터  소장 (전 효성그룹 사장)

Song Ja (Chairman of Korea Convergence Industry Association; former Minister of Education)

송자 한국산업융합학회 회장 (전 교육부장관)

Lee Hui-sung, (CEO, IBM Korea)

이휘성 한국 IBM 사장