▲ Kim Moo-hwan, President of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
When I arrived in the United States to attend CES 2023, it was raining in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Such weather was rare in the winter, but more surprising was the Californian storm that had lasted three weeks from the end of the year. Rainfall accumulated to nearly 90 trillion liters, exceeding one-third of the region’s annual average rainfall. 26 million Californians were inside the flood damage impact area, so it’s hard to even guess the scale of the damage. Experts say this damage was caused by the phenomenon called the “atmospheric river,” in which massive water vapors that formed above the tropical Pacific Ocean flow to the west coast just like a river. The phenomenon, which has been pointed out to cause USD 1 billion worth of flood damage each year, is said to be increasing in affects with global warming. Now, climate change due to human activities is really happening around us.
Reflecting this reality, there has been many changes at CES 2023. Until now, CES has been the place where world-leading technologies were unveiled for the first time in the world. While Healthcare was highlighted on the main stage in 2022 given the COVID-19 pandemic situation, this year, the main themes were further expanded to cover “Human Security” and “Sustainability.” In particular, the event attempted to actively introduce the role of technology to enhance our lives together with UN affiliate organization WAAS (World Academy of Art and Science). SK Group was considered a representative of this intention.
▲ The “Futuremarks” zone inside SK exhibition hall at CES 2023, where the media art depicts landmarks submerged by rising sea levels, a potential consequence of climate change
At CES 2023, SK exhibition hall begins with a heightened sense of crisis caused by climate change. Unlike many other booths at CES that introduce bright futures and innovations through technologies, SK booth introduces a dark future that humanity could be faced with if we fail to stop climate change. Videos of the Statue of Liberty and other global landmarks submerged in water make us realize that technologies for a carbon-free future is not an option but a necessity.
▲ SK delivers the message “Time to act” to call for climate change responding “actions” through its exhibition hall at CES 2023
However, something slowly lighted up the darkness as we kept moving inside to exhibition hall. It was the phrase “Together in Action.” Like following a ray of light at the of a dark tunnel, we could discover SK & Friends’ carbon reduction efforts one by one. Looking around the “SK, Around Every Corner” Zone, which consisted of six corners – Clean Mobility, Zero Carbon Lifestyle, Waste to Resources, Air Mobility, Green Digital Solution, and Future Energy, I firmly believed that it was such a good opportunity to visit this place with our students.
▲ President of POSTECH Kim Moo-hwan (fourth from left) and the students tour around SK exhibition hall at CES 2023.
I visited CES with the all the students who entered POSTECH in 2020. It was a chance for the students to not only observe how the knowledge they learn is applied as technologies to change the world, but also to think of what kinds of educational programs they need to become the leaders of technological innovation. And I believe SK exhibition served this purpose perfectly. Beyond many innovative technologies that bring us a more convenient life, SK showed how technology could change the world more positively, and knew how to call for visitors’ participation. One of the students who attended the program shared that “Looking back on the schedule, no exhibition hall emphasized the environment as much as SK booth.” The student also mentioned that it had been an opportunity to look back on carbon reduction and its applications.
What impressed me the most at the SK booth at CES 2023 was the “Together” point. Throughout the exhibition hall, visitors could see the carbon reduction efforts of multiple companies in various fields. Likewise, it’s impossible to achieve the grand goal of carbon reduction only with the efforts of few companies. It can only be achieved if each individual, community, society, and company put carbon reduction into consistent practice. As many parts of the world are suffering from climate change and the resulting disasters, what we need now is being “Together in Action” (SK exhibition’s theme in 2023).