Technology and National Defense Transform in Lockstep
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
December 31, 2013
Summary: The New Year is almost here. But last year's problems linger. Can a stifled economy be revived? Can a new industrial policy be found? Can a strategy for peaceful development be implemented, despite manpower shortages under a volunteer military? Some demand the restoration of military conscription or increasing pay for military volunteers. We recommend an integrated national strategy. We recommend high-tech industrial transformation and high-tech national defense, combined with industrial policy, to transform the military.
Full text below:
The New Year is almost here. But last year's problems linger. Can a stifled economy be revived? Can a new industrial policy be found? Can a strategy for peaceful development be implemented, despite manpower shortages under a volunteer military? Some demand the restoration of military conscription or increasing pay for military volunteers. We recommend an integrated national strategy. We recommend high-tech industrial transformation and high-tech national defense, combined with industrial policy, to transform the military.
Since the 1980s, the strategy of the Republic of China government has been to make massive investments in the information, semiconductor, communications, and flat panel industries. These have made us critical to the global technology industry. These industries focus on the manufacture of hardware and the training of large numbers of hardware professionals. They have enabled Taiwan to become a leading manufacturer of high-tech products. They have significantly reduced the cost of hardware manufacture. They have enabled consumers around the world to purchase a wide range of inexpensive yet high quality 3C products.
But Taiwan's technology industry is export-oriented. This makes it susceptible to fluctuations in the international economy. The U.S. financial crisis erupted in 2008, then spread. The recession impacted the major countries of Europe and America. Dramatically reduced demand led to a serious decline in technology industry exports and to corporate layoffs. Unpaid leave resulted in massive unemployment. Meanwhile, vendors on Taiwan have sought to reduce costs by increasing production efficiency. This means reducing direct labor costs, plant costs, and pollution control costs. The result has been the migration of large numbers of industries westward, to the Mainland. Some of the industries that stayed have discharged untreated sewage undergroundsewage. The documentary film "Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above" was heart-breaking. As a result, Taiwan has lost many job opportunities. Those remaining are not enough to go around. Once beautiful rivers have become polluted. Taiwan's preoccupation with hardware must be changed.
The International Information Corporation (IDC) recently issued its technology industry forecast for the coming year. The industry will focus on the four pillars of "third platform" development. They are mobile computing, cloud based services , Big Data, and social networking. The first platform was mainframes. The second platform was terminals, PCs, and platforms for the Internet Age. The third platform is today's tablets and mobile phone network applications. Coincidentally, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) recently announced its "five technologies for the next five years." They include future classrooms, combined online and bricks and mortar retailing, DNA tailored health care, digital security, and smart cities. These five technologies will change our lives. They will be connected to Internet clouds and Big Data. Viat management and interactive sensors they will integrate learning, trade, health, safety, and services. They will create a more efficient, more convenient environment in which we can live our lives.
As we all know, IBM once sold machines, including computers. Now it sells software and services. Its business is thriving. IBM believes that when software evolves to where it can think like the human brain, computing power and cloud data storage will enable Big Data to provide omnipresent creative power. In other words, the computer will no longer be just a computer. It will be smarter and more customized. It will interact with people, helping us to deal with problems and providing us with advice. The current IOT (Internet of Things) is merely a starting point. Smart sensors, biometric technology, and ubiquitous computing, will do more than string together a network to exchange information. It will enable hardware and hardware and hardware and people to communicate with each other. It will increasingly automate the environment.
Now let us return to the matter of national defense. Gulf War air strikes began on January 17, 1991. The 28 countries of the US-led coalition conducted 38 days of air attacks. They used missiles and smart bombs with unparalleled precision. Iraq's military facilities, tanks, air-raid shelters, bunkers, and airports were destroyed. The era of precision munitions was upon us. War no longer hingee on large-scale ground war manpower. It hinged on information. Attack required the use of precision-guided weapons technology to automatically identify their targets. The trend was toward increased target variety and improved strike accuracy. Defense required a variety of reconnaissance and surveillance technologies, advanced radar, space electronic defensive warfare, and electromagnetic pulse technology. These automatically counter enemy threats, increase self-defense capability, and create an integrated defense network.
National defense requires state of the art "short, small, light, thin" networked, automated, precision, stealth, unmanned technologies. It does not require spending money supporting legions of dumb grunts.
This is where high-tech industries and national defense are headed. Industrial policy and national defense must be integrated. We urgently need software talent to undertake high-tech software and defense management, We must enter the new world of man machine integration. These trends will provide job opportunities on Taiwan. IT hardware is the ROC's national strength. Taiwan lacks talent in software applications and services. Taiwan must not fixate on hardware at the expense of software. It must do both. This is the proper strategy for our future development.
眾所周知，IBM過去是賣機器、賣電腦，但現在是賣軟體、賣服務，業績還蒸蒸日上。IBM認為，當軟體進化到以類似人腦方式「思考」的同時，電腦的運算能力與儲存於雲端的大量資訊將使機器得以在各處各地無所不在地提供創意動力。換句話說，未來電腦不再是計算機，而是變得越來越聰明與客製化，與人互動，進而幫助我們處理難題，並給予正確建議。也因此現在正在發展的物聯網（Internet of Things）只是個起點。通過智慧感應、識別辨認技術與普適計算，不只是把東西串成一個網路交換資料而已，而是要讓設備和設備之間，設備與人之間可以互相溝通，更可以讓生活環境更加自動化。