[3min.talk] Prof. Patreich's Interview With Dr. Jin Kai: Emergence of The Virtual Reality Era

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: Today we are joined by the expert Dr. Jin Kai, a research fellow at the Institute of Sinology at Yonsei University and an associate here at the Asia Institute. Welcome Dr. Jin Kai.

Dr. Jin Kai: Thank you for inviting me.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: So I'd like to ask you today a little bit about what are the broader implications of this revolution in virtual reality for our society?

Dr. Jin Kai: Well, I think the most direct implication of virtual reality is that as the technology advances it will give so much profits to those pioneers, those smart and very quick moving companies like Alibaba and Ten Cents in the Chinese market today.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: So tell us about a little bit more about the Chinese market. How has that market evolved, that virtual reality market?

Dr. Jin Kai: Let me give you an example of the increase of the Chinese market for internet users over the past few years. By the end of 2015, they were like 688 million internet users in China. But five years ago, they were like a little more than 400 million. And the important point is that the new technology users, those using smart phones, the number doubled in 5 years. So you can see how Chinese people are so enthusiastic about new technologies.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: Related to that, there was recent event at the Mobile World Congress. And there was a section at the Samsung Galaxy "Unpacked 2016,"at which Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook walked down the aisle. And everyone inside was wearing their virtual reality, wearing their virtual reality glasses. Some people who saw this imagewere delighted. They thought "this is so exciting; a new future world." But other people were a little bit less sanguine, a little bit more concerned that everyone is now living in their own virtual world and maybe the social structures or the social agreements in our society are being weakened.

Dr. Jin Kai: Well, I think that's the direction that we're moving forward. Actually, this is not only about technology, but also about how we live, and how we communicate with each other. And it will have in essence a very important in influence in politics,in internal relations and in personal relations also. We can communicate not only with phone calls but also in virtual reality. And we can see each other in virtual reality. And that's amazing.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: Right. So in the case of United States and China, we share numerous matters about virtual space and internet space, between them, there has been much discussion about this question. And recently there has been some agreement made on the question of cyber security and how to assure against cyber theft. But it seems to me to be only first step.

Dr. Jin Kai: Well it is exactly the first step because the cyber security issue is something different from nuclear threats. The weapon is the technology and knowledge is something people can learn it from everywhere, from internet; you can be a hacker by yourself--just spenda couple of weeks learning something new. And the point is, this is initial part, this is the first stage to have a protocol, to have a code of conduct to deal with the issue of theft. And the other problem is individuals, small companies, non-government organizations also being a very important actor of cyber security issues.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: Right. Well, we think of our virtual reality as having these two qualities. It can be both a shared space in which we create better future, but it can also be a contested battle ground right for different players not, as you mention, not necessarily nation states. They can be individuals, or groups within countries, or global networks not only who has good intentions. So what virtual reality would become is a critical issue for us.

Dr. Jin Kai: Right, yes. And I think this is something like a game that everybody is playing.They are announcing that "We are playing the game," but actually everybody is playing the game. The point is, there must be some kind of compromise between the major powers, especially between China and U.S., buy not only China and US, also small states, and also Korea, maybe.

Prof. Emanuel Pastreich: Right. Well, thank you for your insights today, Dr. Jin Kai. And we'll be meeting with you again to talk about other issues here in East Asia. Thank you again.