Isolating Experts, Isolated Experts
Isolating Experts, Isolated Experts
  • Reporter Lee Il-bong
  • 승인 2017.12.06 00:32
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Last Jul. 24, a public opinion committee regarding anti-nuclear movement policies was established by the Office for Prime Minister’s Secretariat. The public opinion committee confirmed its 471 participants on Sep. 13. After taking the one-month on/offline course and participating in three days of camp (Oct. 13 to Oct. 15), the participants voted to continue the construction of Shin-Kori number 5 & 6 nuclear power plants. The result was in favor, by a percentage of 59.5. Regardless of the result, a tremendous numbers of public discussions have occurred. The main argument was whether giving ‘ordinary citizens’ the right to determine the country’s policy is desirable. Observing this process, I realized there are two significant problems that modern academia needs to overcome: ‘Autogamy’ and ‘Isolation from Public’. I believe the reason the government took this heavy obligation to ‘ordinary citizens’ stems from these two chronic problems that have plagued scientific fields for a long time.
Undoubtedly, experts deserve respect and priority when it comes to their fields of interest. However, their authority is based upon the trust of ordinary people. The establishment of a public opinion committee was implemented since various experts in nuclear engineering lost their trust due to frequent collusion. Collusion occurs when there is no proper control between a group, and it seems obvious why collusion occurs, when we realize the fact, that the auditor and the researchers are all in the same ‘group’, and connected through numerous links. This situation is not confined to just the nuclear engineering field. Corruption, elitism, and experts in Korea are isolating themselves. Often, researchers will exclude others, even amongst their own ranks, by their gender, birth place, and their undergraduate university. ‘Autogamy’ in Korean research fields is already a concerning trend.
Further, I sense the isolation of technology from the public. Presently, technology itself may seem more familiar to citizens compared with the past. Smartphones and IT devices are plastered into our daily lives. However, its principles - natural science, theories, and scientists - are going far away from us. It sounds really weird that the most people just learn how to ‘use’ the computer – MS Excel, Word, etc., but not interested in its ‘principle’ – computer language. As technology becomes more complicated, society will encounter a bigger gap between the experts and ordinary people. Scientists should not only focus on the research, but also put their efforts into making technology familiar to the public. There are many good ways to deliver the concepts of science in simpler words. This is a different problem from collusion, this is about the direction science should take. Ultimately, there should be no ‘barrier’ to the public in studying science. If the general public was well informed about the current technological restrictions of other recyclable energies, we might have obtained a much more productive result.
Concerning the two aspects that I have mentioned above, scientists and society would benefit greatly if they moved in a completely different direction. These two major chronic problems have retarded the development of science. Extensive self-evaluation and reform in the field of science is strongly required more than ever.

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