Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Chulalongkorn University, February 24, 2009
In the first alliance of its kind, Thailand’s top mobile executives today joined an alliance with the country’s telecommunications regulators, intent on paving the way for “meaningful” broadband” which they think could boost and transform the country’s economy.
Though new data for OECD (oecd.org) and elsewhere suggests that broadband by itself stimulates economies, the coalition aims to enhance this benefit through by formulating regulatory innovations, public-private partnerships, new economic modeling and innovations in software design.
“Now that legal hurdles are being removed, there is an urgent need for ICT stakeholders in Thailand to pool research efforts and formulate policies and practices that will make broadband of optimal benefit for all Thais.” said Prof Setaporn Kuseepitak of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC.) Besides NTC, also joining the Meaningful Broadband Working Group were chairmen and CEOs of the country’s powerful telecommunications operating companies including AIS, DTAC, True Corp., and CAT. (Participation of TOT
was pending confirmation as of Feb 23.)
The announcement of the new alliance was made at Chulaongkorn University in an event sponsored today by Nokia Siemens Network and hosted by the chairman of the university’s governing board, Dr. Charas Suwanwela. The Working Group was founded by the
University’s Center for Ethics of Science and Technology
“Building on the approach used by the Obama Administration in the United States, the coalition puts high-speed internet in a starring role in a model of economic stimulus. But the approach goes further by also seeking to do so in a way that preserve Thai values and fosters a
‘sufficiency economy,’,” said University of Washington’s Craig Warren Smith, one of the founders of the worldwide movement to close Digital Divide. He is now a visiting professor at Chulalongkorn based at the CEST where he is helping to organize the Working Group.
“Telecommunications has emerged as the leading growth sector in Thailand’s economy. This effort hopes to find new ways to leverage the industry’s strength for the benefit of all Thais,” said Professor Prasit Prapinmongkalkarn, an NTC Commissioner.
“ We are delighted to support this initiative," said Mr. Ricky Corker, Country Director of Nokia Siemens Networks Thailand. "As a leading global enabler of telecommunications services, we're
committed to building a sustainable future for broadband. With the kind of cooperation expressed by the Working Group, Thailand can emerge as a global innovator in broadband development," he added.
“The working group can help us to consider how broadband can boost human resources in the new Thai economy,” said Mr. Sathit Limpongan, Chairman of CAT, who doubles as Thailand’s Deputy Finance Minister. Last week, the Finance Ministry announced a 1.9 trillion
baht stimulus plan that incorporates investments in broadband infrastructure.
Being meaningful means being affordable,” said DTAC CEO Tore Johnsen. “We are keen to share our experiences in extending broadband to every Thai citizen no matter where they work or live.”
“Content is a driver of broadband,” said Supachai Chearavonont President and CEO of True Corp, a diversified media corporation that is also the third largest mobile company. “Though this collaborative effort we seek a way to extend access to interactive learning for even the most low-income Thais.”
“Six years ago, the Kingdom of Thailand became a world innovator by building a public/private alliance for the first national low-cost PC project. Now, with broadband, stakeholders can go so much further,” said Andrew McBean, former country director of Microsoft-Thailand.
The next step for the Working Group, say its members, is to invite the Kingdom of Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit to join a discussion about how broadband could assist the policy goals of a
whole range of ministries.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
February 6 - 7, 2009
Nineteenth century Germany saw an influx of ideas flowing in from the East. It is well known that thinkers such as Schopenhauer in the early period of the century was influenced by Indian philosophies such as Buddhism and Hinduism, as new translations became available in European languages or key canonical texts such as many Buddhist sutras and the Bhagavadgita. Thus the age was an important fermentation period, one that profoundly changed the outlook of many aspects of European culture, most notably perhaps in Germany itself. Through Schopenhauer the ideas received from the East percolated through thinkers and writers as diverse as Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, and perhaps a little surprisingly Bertold Brecht.
The Symposium on "Buddhism German Philosophy and Literature: An Intercultural Dialogue" was held at the campus of Chulalongkorn University from February 6 to 7, 2009, and it was quite well attended, considering that there are many events in the university and the specific nature of the topic. The meeting was supported by the Goethe-Institut in Bangkok, and was jointly organized by the Center for European Studies and Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, both belonging to Chulalongkorn University, and the Thousand Stars Foundation, an independent non-profit focusing on research and other activities in Buddhism in Thailand.
After the opening the ceremony presided by Prof. Dr. Pirom Kamolratanakul, President of the university, the session in the morning of Friday, 6 February began with a brief talk on "Remarks on Philology and Buddhist Studies, with Special Reference to German Philology and Manuscript Studies" by Dr. Peter Skilling. He provided the audience with some details about German contribution of scholarship on Buddhist studies. The next paper was by Prof. Volker Mertens on "Buddhism in the European Middle Ages," where he talked about the reception of Buddhist ideas through Europeans who get the opportunity for contact with the East during the 11th century when the Mongols were in their ascendancy. This was perhaps the first record of European contact with Buddhism (not counting the Romans or the Greeks, where the evidence was not clear).
Then the papers by Prof. Dr. Pornsan Watananguhn and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heinrich Detering investigated the influences and the reception of Buddhist ideas in German literature. The authors discussed were Karl Gjellerup, the Danish writer whose work "The Pilgrim Kamanita" was very well known in Thaiand through translation, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and Bertold Brecht. The reception of Buddhism by these writers was both positive and negative. As these writers became aware of Buddhist ideas, they gave their own responses, which were reflected in their writings. Thomas Mann, for example, was deeply influenced by Schopenhauer, and the idea of the unknowable will and the Buddhist conception of suffering figures prominently in the discussion during the Symposium.
Three more papers dealed with Buddhist influences in German literature, namely those by Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Dieter Borschmeyer, who focused on Mann's "Die vertauschten Köpfe," and Dr. Ronald Perlwitz, who talked about the writer Friedrich Rückkert and his views on Buddhism. Finally, Prof. Dr. Adrian Hsia talked about Hermann Hesse and his "transcultural reception" blending Buddhism, Hinduism, Protestantism and Catholicism together.
Then there were papers by Thai philosophers, starting with a keynote address by Prof. Preecha Changkwanyuen, whose paper was entitled "Exchange of Religious Cultures between East and West." Then Prof. Dr. Somparn Promta talked about "Literature in Buddhist Perspective," which though it did not touch upon the question of reception of Buddhism in German culture directly, did in fact contribute significantly through his analysis of literature according to Buddhism. Afterwards there were two more papers, by Dr. Soraj Hongladarom and Dr. Theptawee Chokevasin, whose topics were "Schopenhauer's Metaphysics of the Will and Nagarjuna's View on Emptiness" and "Heideggian and Theravada Buddhist View on the Motility of Life" respectively. Dr. Soraj's paper was a detailed analysis of Schopenhauer's argument compared with the Buddhist master Nagarjuna. The topic was what was actually meant by "nothing."
The Symposium ended with a session where everybody convened and gave their viewpoints on a variety of topics. Not surprisingly the topics of Buddhist and Christian dialogs dominated the discussion. The participants talked about how Buddhism and Christianity could be reconciled, and how much of the ideas of pantheism and the philosophy of Spinoza (which, by the way, perhaps found its way into Schopenhauer) could be found in these literary works.
That was to be expected from an academic meeting. The participants in any case agreed that there should be a second meeting after this one. The topic is far too important and too rich just to let this particular event pass by without any further action.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
A Launch event for the Centre for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University (by invitation only)
Time: 24 February 2009, 9.00 am. – 2.00 pm.
Venue: Room 105, Maha Chulalongkorn Building, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
9.15 am. Opening by host Dr. Charas Suwanwela, Chairman of Governing Board, Chulalongkorn University
Overview of the day's proceedings, Prof. Soraj Hongladarom,
Director, Center for Ethics of Science and Technology
9.20 am. Keynote from Prime Minister Hon. Abhisit Vijjajiva: Towards a New Thai Economy and Workforce: Finding the Optimal Role of Broadband (to be confirmed)
A Response to the Prime Minister’s Remarks on Behalf of the Private Sector: Mr.Ricky Corker, Director Nokia Siemens Networks
9.40 am. What is Meaningful Broadband; Towards a "Compact" linking
Public and Private Sectors. Prof Craig Warren Smith, Senior Advisor, Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington:Craig Warren Smith
10.00 am.- 12.00 noon Presentation: Towards a "Compact" between public, private and academic sectors.
- Towards a Meaningful Regulations: Prof. Sethaporn Cusripitck (NTC Commissioner)
- Towards the Broadband-enabled Reform of Basic Education : Dr.Paron Isarasena, Commission on Basic Education, Ministry of Education
12.00 – 12.30 p.m. Conclusion and press conference
12.30 – 13.30 p.m. Lunch with video presentation of interactive learning with children from KMUTT model school
Thursday, February 12, 2009
A By-Invitation-Only Seminar at Chulalongkorn University, February 24, 2009
Meaningful Broadband, a half day event and press conference hosted by Chulalongkorn University on February 24, 2009, is designed for a select group of 40 leading ICT stakeholders from government, business and academic sectors in Thailand. The event, which presents a model for the optimal deployment of high-speed internet in ASEAN countries, is sponsored by the Nokia Siemens Network.
Held at a time when US President Obama has given a starring role to high-speed internet as a factor in US economic stimulus, the event on February 24 will consider how a “broadband ecosystem” might trigger benefits to low-income Thais as well as the Thai citizenry as a whole. Drawing upon an innovative model called Meaningful Broadband that is being prepared for deployment in Indonesia, the meeting will consider how high-speed internet could have meaningful impacts in Thailand as well.
The core concept of Meaningful Broadband is that it does not refer to a single device or a single software application. Rather it refers to the formulation of a complex national “ecosystem” of products and services with four aspects: 1) backbone, 2) Last Mile, 3) devices, and 4) content. In this model the term, “meaningful" has three aspects: usable, affordable and empowering. By operationalizing this idea, regulators and technology-developers could gain the criteria needed to measure the impact of broadband technologies on citizens.
Interwoven and reinforced with public policy and new investments,this ecosystem could intertwine public and private sectors together into new strategic alliances anchored by public-private partnerships and reinforced by regulatory innovations. As it turns out, the academic sector has an important stake in the successful deployment of broadband and is itself a potential force in every aspect of the ecosystem.
In the background of this meeting is an important innovation that has emerged from the young Obama Administration in the US. Broadband received $9 billion in federal investments and, more importantly, an additional $120 billion in human-resources development investments were allocated by US Congress so that the educational and workforce-development systems could be transformed through broadband.
Prior to the US example, most governments have assumed that human-resources infrastructure and technology investments would only pay off in the long-term. But the advocates for this approach in the US have argued that the stimulus to the economy and the payoff in jobs could be immediate. Could the same logic work for Thailand?
To set the context for this discussion, the gathering will consider a model for the formulation of “meaningful” broadband ecosystems, formulated by Prof Craig Warren Smith, who first began working with the Kingdom of Thailand when he was professor of Science and Technology Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. This year he is in residence at Chulalongkorn University’s Center for Ethics of Science and Technology and serves as an organizer of the February 24 session.
Prime Minister Abhisit himself has been invited to offer his own views on this topic and we have also invited the chairman of Thailand’s regulatory agency, National Telecommunications Commission to explain NTC’s framework for interacting with the private sector regarding broadband. Finally, the gathering will announce a research agenda for assessing these options and considering a path forward.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Nanoethics Asia (NEA2009)
August 26 - 28, 2009, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
The Nanoethics Research Group, the Center for Innovative Nanotechnology, and the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University, will organize an international workshop on "Nanoethics Asia" (NEA2009). The purpose of the Workshop is to stimulate and gather ground breaking research in all areas related to the ethical, social, cultural, and legal implications of what is broadly construed as "nanotechnology, " especially as these implications arise from within the contexts of Asia and other non-Western regions.
Call for Abstracts
Those who are interested in participating in the Workshop should submit an abstract of between 150 to 300 words to Mr Parkpume Vanichaka at parkpume@gmail. com. Abstracts are accepted for considerations which consider the ethical, legal, social, cultural aspects of nanotechnology as well as other related technologies. Abstracts dealing with these issues in relation to the context of the developing country (not only in Asia) are especially welcome.
The following topics would be particularly suitable for the Workshop, though the list is not exhaustive:
- Human enhancement through nanotechnology
- Life extension
- Safety issues arising from nanomaterial
- Nanotechnology for development
- Legal and regulatory issues
- Last date for submission of abstract: 28 March 2009
- Notification of Acceptance: 30 April 2009
- Submission of full paper: 15 July 2009
- Workshop date: 26 – 28 August 2009
Prof. John Weckert, Charles Sturt University, Australia and Editor-in-Chief, Nanoethics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale.
The Workshop is sponsored in part by the Center for Innovative Nanotechnology, Chulalongkorn University. That is a reason why we charge no registration fees. However, potential participants are requested for find their own funding for travelling and accommodation while in Thailand. We can help with reserving a room and securing discount at participating hotels and guest houses, especially Sasa International House, which is a small hotel on campus. Lunches, all breaks and the conference material will be provided free of charge to all participants.
Website: http://www.stc. arts.chula. ac.th/NEA2009/