KAIST Institutes and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: NExFIRE
The world is changing very rapidly in how we live and work, and these changes are based on even faster developments of various innovative technologies. These advancements collectively contribute to the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, which the chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Klaus Schwab, wrote about in his book after the 2016 Davos Forum. The theme of the 2016 Davos Forum was “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” It should be noted that KAIST has contributed to establishing the global consensus of the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution. To begin with, the detailed view and vision of the fourth industrial revolution were first disclosed by WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab at KAIST after he received an honorary doctorate degree in September of 2015. His talk aligned well with the research themes and works of KAIST Institutes. The drivers of the fourth industrial revolution is said to be seamlessly integrated technologies based on digital, physical, and biological technologies. Digital technologies include expanded and better-connected internet, sensors, big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchains, while physical technologies consist of new materials, distributed and additive manufacturing such as 3D/4D printing, and advanced robotics. Biological technologies include genome reading-writing-editing, neuroengineering, synthetic biology, and metabolic engineering. These individual technologies are rapidly being integrated to evolve towards new technologies, applications, and industries.
KAIST Institute is currently made up of six institutes – BioCentury, NanoCentury, IT Convergence, Health Science and Technology, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence. Each institute has been working on several topics that are becoming enabling technologies for the fourth industrial revolution. Key accomplishments include the development of DARPA-challenge world champion Hubo, commercialization of Tomocube as a biophotonic microscope, cancer metastasis control, new battery materials, and platform technologies for flexible electronics among others. Recently, KAIST Institute has initiated another exciting program called the Network of Excellence for the Fourth Industrial REvolution (NExFIRE) program, to lead the world in the fourth industrial revolution. Three flagship projects are being actively pursued: the development of technology and service package to cope with neurodegenerative diseases in the aging world, the development of advanced manufacturing robots, and the development of ubiquitous 3D-display system. In addition, more ideas coming from faculty members, students, and researchers alike will be added to further develop on-going and exciting projects.
It is our hope that KAIST Institute will play significant roles in developing exciting technologies to lead the fourth industrial revolution. Since KAIST Institute has always emphasized the importance of collaborative innovation, we welcome your opinions and ideas to further advance such collaborative innovation, and look forward to working together.