Science, technology could be solutions for aging population

2024.03.21 09:25:01 | 2024.03.21 09:45:10

KAIST President Lee Kwang-hyung. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

KAIST President Lee Kwang-hyung. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]



Science and technology will provide solutions to societal challenges by helping the elderly overcome age-related obstacles and engage in various economic activities, according to the president of Korea‘s top science institute.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) President Lee Kwang-hyung shared this belief during a conference held as part of the Vision Korea initiative on Wednesday while emphasizing the key role of science and technology in addressing demographic issues. “If seniors can remain productive for longer, the labor force will expand and the cost of elder care will decrease,” Lee said.

The impending reality of an aging society has not received the same attention as the public and government focus on low birth rates. Half of Korea’s population will be over 60 by 2072, turning it into an “aging nation” with skyrocketing healthcare costs. However, extending the productive working age from the current 64 years to 69 years could reduce elderly care costs by up to 30 percent.

Among other technologies, wearable robots are viewed as the primary technology for addressing aging issues, as they not only restore and maintain senior citizens’ physical abilities but also enable them to augment and transcend their physical limits.

Brain-machine interface technology, which allows computers to read human thoughts, is also expected to extend human physical and mental functions. KAIST is a leader in anti-aging research, which has the potential to delay the onset of cancer, the nation‘s leading cause of death, by up to a decade when commercialized.

Lee also highlighted the military potential of science and technology, envisioning “science and technology forces” capable of commanding robot armies.

Vision Korea, which is supported by the Maeil Business Newspaper, aims to chart the nation’s future via blueprints and action plans.

By Lee Jin-myung, Lim Young-sin, Gwon Han-wul and Chang Iou-chung

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]