“Eight billion people will sign up for mobile communication in 2015, and 50 billion machines will be interconnected in 2020,” said former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg when he visited Korea in 2010. He called this Connected Society. His projection sounded like a sci-fi story, but it became reality. Advancement of new technologies such as IoT, cloud and big data is creating a new social system where people and things are connected through the Internet.
Korea is assessed to be the most “connected” society in the world. The Pew Research Center of the United States asked 40,448 people in 37 countries whether they had a smartphone and found that 94 percent of Koreans had a smartphone, which was a lot higher than the second ranker Israel (83 percent). Korea’s Internet penetration rate, which means a rate of adults who use the Internet regularly or own a smartphone, was also top of the world at 96 percent. Korea ranked third along with the United States and Australia in social network utilization rate. “Korea is the most heavily connected society in the world,” said the Pew Research Center.
The world is facing the fourth industrial revolution after the first revolution driven by mechanization, second by electricity energy and third by computer and the Internet. The key of the fourth industrial revolution is connection. It is difficult to say Korea is spearheading the fourth industrial revolution, but it is certainly leading in the connection through smartphones.
Connected Society is creating new cultures and values. Today, people can share their thoughts and work with friends or coworkers who are several thousand kilometers away. Some young people say they feel more comfortable when they talk with their family through social networks such as KakaoTalk even though they are in the same house. But there is an old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Hopefully, we will never lose our good old-fashioned values in the avalanche of digital innovation and development.