Reviewing 2016: Science & Technology Issues in 2016
Reviewing 2016: Science & Technology Issues in 2016
  • Kang Min-seok
  • 승인 2017.01.01 16:52
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Last year, there were various science or technology issues that caught the public’s eye. New discoveries were enough to shock people, and new technologies offered glimpses of how our life may improve. Some issues brought up problems that scientists and the society should be concerned about. We will review 4 of the hot science issues of 2016.Artificial IntelligenceArtificial intelligence became an issue as Google DeepMind Challenge Match, AlphaGo versus Lee Sedol, drew huge attention from the public. As AlphaGo won by 4:1 against one of the best Go players in the world, people were shocked by how fast AlphaGo developed into an unbeatable player. AlphaGo does not require a person to prefill its database for each situation that may happen while playing Go, which is a method that the majority of chess programs use. AlphaGo spars with itself and finds the way to win through ‘Deep Learning’ method, which is an algorithm utilizing artificial neural network between input and output.Not only in Go, but ‘Deep Learning’ is showing shocking performance in various fields. For instance, Deepface, a face recognition program using the ‘Deep Learning’ method developed by Facebook, could verify 97% of faces correctly.Gravity WaveGravity wave is a distortion made in space-time by moving mass, which is transmitted in the form of a wave at the speed of light. The existence of gravity waves was predicted by Albert Einstein. However, gravity waves were too weak to directly detect at the time when Einstein first predicted them.In 2016, 100 years after Einstein’s prediction, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) successfully detected a gravity wave and proved its existence. LIGO was able to detect it by observing the interference on lasers each wave caused in Washington and Louisiana. The detection of gravity waves is strong corroboration for the theory of general relativity, and evaluated as one of the biggest results in 21st century physics.Virtual Reality / Augmented RealityAugmented reality became an issue because of the huge success of Pokemon GO, and virtual reality devices became commercialized with the release of PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift. VR and AR seem similar but they have a significant difference; AR is an addition of virtual objects into reality, while VR is completely artificial. Through rapid advancement in real-time 3D rendering, VR and AR technology could make big improvements in resolution and number of polygons, which are the standard unit of 3D objects. VR and AR technology are expected to be utilized not only in games, but also for military training, sports broadcasting, and psychotherapy.Zika VirusThe Zika virus was first found in 1947, Uganda from a monkey living in a forest. Recently, it has spread to South America and the Caribbean. Zika virus is carried by yellow fever mosquito or sexual intercourse. One out of five people infected with Zika suffer fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache, and a maculopapular rash. The Zika virus is also suspected of causing general paralysis and fetus microcephaly. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus yet. The Zika virus became a global problem because of the Rio Olympics, as the virus had spread widely in Brazil about 6 months before the Olympics. As infectious diseases caused by local viruses are spreading globally often these days, such as Zika and MERS, long-term countermeasures are needed.

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