We Are Living in an Era of Creative Economy (II)
We Are Living in an Era of Creative Economy (II)
  • Kim Ho Sung
  • 승인 2013.11.06 14:39
  • 댓글 0
이 기사를 공유합니다

Generally, people think science is difficult and boring. Most people do not know about scientific principles that dominate our lives or even have any interest in them; however, science is inseparable from us. That is why Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity (KOFAC) holds events like the Korea Science Creativity Festival periodically. Science and technology is not the exclusive property of a minority specialist group, but the field that the public can experience and enjoy altogether. Currently, KOFAC is playing a role as a good medium of connection between specialized and general fields of science and technology.
In the industrialization period, people thought science and technology makes a strong nation. But at this fast-changing and complicated moment, science and technology is not only important for national competitiveness but also for our lives and survival. For instance, if the government establishes and enforces a policy unilaterally, as we witnessed at both  Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Nuclear Power Plant incident, it will cause serious conflicts and social costs because of conflicting interests and different ideas. Therefore, the government should listen to a variety of opinions, mediate stakes, and draw public consensus before formulating a policy. That is why ‘public-private cooperative governance’is needed in policy making and enforcement.
Science and technology play a more absolute role than anything else in the process of reaching an agreement. Each individual member of society should understand scientific knowledge and think scientifically to make a decision reasonably and objectively regardless of particular stakes and inclination. Unfortunately, however, that is not the way our reality goes. We saw a great development in our society politically and socially compared to the past, but ‘science literacy’ is still low. According to KOFAC’s biennial Inve- stigation for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, Korean adults’ interest in science and technology has declined slightly from 27.9 in 2010 to 27.3 in 2012. Although American adults’ interest degree in science and technology was 65.0, much higher than Korean interest degree, it is fortunate that Korean interest in science and technology was the highest among the three nations surveyed: China, Japan, and Korea.
Not only Korea but also the world’s leading countries are moving quickly for the sake of creative economy. The one thing we should not forget is that the root of a creative economy is science and technology, and the base of science and technology is the public understanding and knowledge in science. Thus, scientists and researchers who are active in the field should engage in society to diffuse and deliver scientific knowledge and to disseminate scientific thinking. Scientists and researchers should break out of passive roles to offer their own expertise in resolving pending issues. They must actively engage and participate in society in person based on their specialties.
To realize a creative economy in the future, citizens should have scientific knowledge and reasonable thinking as the owners of society, and researchers and scientists with expertise should suggest the vision as the elite in science fields. Now, it is the time to seek authentic change and engagement for our prosperous future. At this moment, what should Postechians do? What is the mission of Postechians?
POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) has made remarkable development since its establishment in 1986. Now, it is one of the world class universities ranking top in ‘Survey of Universities under 50 years old’. No one doubts POSTECH is outstanding university that represents Korea, and its students have splendid talents and capabilities. However, great reputation and talents come with social responsibility. Postechians should not just achieve and accomplish remarkable academic feats in their majors, but participate in society actively with their exceptional insights for the development of the country. In that regard, we ask Postechians to take care of the following.
Firstly, knowledge and technology not only in your major but also in various fields are critical to lead the era of Creative Economy. Humanity is essential to understand the human mind and to read complicated social phenomena. Therefore, you should not neglect literature, history and philosophy.
Secondly, please try to keep yourself open to every possibility about your career. POSTECH claims a research-oriented university, but still there are various choices to utilize your knowledge of major fields. You should make an effort to find the way that suits you after exploring a variety of careers such as a technocrat, a communicator, a manager of research projects, and so on.
Lastly, please do not settle for the present, and do agonize about national, social, and public values. You should contribute more than brilliant achievements as a scientist or a researcher. Like Carl Sagan, author of Cosmos, you should not forget that enlightening the public by getting them interested in scientific knowledge and scientific literacy is one of the major tasks of scientists and researchers.