Co-existence with Robots: Future, Technology, Humans

Seminar Series “Restart 21 - Future and Humanity”

The last seminar of the RE:START 21 series presented the topic: Co-existence with Robots: Future, Technology, Humans and took place in a hybrid format on the 7th of October at 3 pm at the POSCO Center in Gangnam, Seoul. The event was moderated by Min-Jung Oh, a research professor from Sungkyunkwan University who enabled a lively discussion and interaction between the presenter and the audience despite the hybrid format.

Jong-Won Park, a researcher from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), gave a lecture on the current technological state of machines and robots and its implications for the future co-existence with humans and the job market. Robots are smart machines and exist to facilitate our lives and to replace jobs that can be done more accurately by robots than humans. The engineers intend to create robots in sectors that allow humans to save time, thus increasing daily efficiency, for instance, through autonomous vehicles. Robots can also replace tasks that would cause damage to humans, such as the development of “Armstrong” robots for potential nuclear power plants accidents.

Given the rapid development and expansion of robots on the current market, society needs to build a consensus on robots’ purposes and ethical decisions to coexist peacefully. Furthermore, robots create a shift in the labor market and allow humans to spend more time doing other things. Therefore, to ensure a stable labor market and welfare, a potential robot tax for the added-created value needs to be considered, which must be implemented into the national law. The seminar thus demonstrated the multifaceted functions of robots and their fast pace of development that creates a sense of urgency for every individual to reflect upon their co-existence in the (near) future.

This seminar attracted an audience of 137 students from 18 different countries who then actively engaged in the Q&A session and shared their opinions subsequently to the presentation.