“Techno Big Bang” opportunities showcased at WKF

2023.09.15 12:07:01 | 2023.09.15 13:05:40

Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space.이미지 확대

Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space.

The 24th World Knowledge Forum (WKF), held at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday, highlighted remarkable examples of new businesses emerging from the ongoing “Techno Big Bang.”

The event featured discussions on innovative projects in areas such as cancer treatment experiments in space, carbon dioxide extraction from the atmosphere for industrial purposes, and the development of futuristic autonomous vehicles using quantum computing.

Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space, the private company overseeing the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), emphasized the significance of space industry advancements. Groundbreaking experiments are currently taking place in space’s near zero-gravity environment, and the space industry plays a vital role for pharmaceutical companies in Korea, he told participants.

This year, U.S.-based MicroQuin successfully tracked the process of killing breast cancer cells on the ISS at an altitude of 350 kilometers above ground to identify a new drug candidate, accelerating the discovery of a potential treatment by eight years.

Since the inception of the internet in the 1960s, related industries have been primarily driven by government, but the private sector is now taking the lead, Suffredini said, highlighting the shift from government-led initiatives to private sector leadership. As numerous companies conduct experiments in space today, a future where manufacturing occurs directly in space could be possible in the next 20 to 30 years, he added.

Citigroup projects the space industry’s value to reach $1 trillion by 2040.

The carbon dioxide capture industry is also undergoing a transformation into a recycling industry. Many companies are re-examining the profitability of the carbon industry and 50,000 tons of carbon emitted by cement factories being captured annually and converted into baking soda raw materials, according to Martin Keighley, CEO of CarbonFree.

Quantum computing is another market that is taking shape. Takuya Kitagawa, President of QuEra Computing, drew parallels with the emergence of artificial intelligence in the age of ChatGPT, saying that the quantum computing industry is now focused on reducing error rates. Once the error correction technology is perfected, he forecast the industry could flourish within a few years.

Exemplifying Kitagawa’s thesis, IonQ is currently collaborating with Hyundai Motor to enhance the computing power of autonomous vehicles.

By Lee Sang-duk and Minu Kim

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