Message from the President November.2017

Message from the President November.2017

What Lies a Few Steps Away

Early in October, CEATEC JAPAN 2017 took place with the participation of 667 companies and organizations, mainly from the IT and electronics industry. Traditionally, CEATEC JAPAN was more of a consumer electronics trade showm exhibiting a collection of cutting-edge digital home appliances. In 2016, however, the event declared that it would move in a new direction. Since then, the themes and exhibitors have changed dramatically. The 2017 event took place under the theme of Connecting Society, Creating the Future. Companies and organizations from a broad array of business types and industries took part, crossing traditional boundaries. CEATEC JAPAN has changed and upgraded itself considerably.

Change reminds me of industrial revolutions. They have had tremendous impacts on manufacturing, social structure and ways of working. The first industrial revolution replaced manual labor with machines. The second opened the way for mass production based on electric energy. The third ushered in automation based on electronic engineering and computers. And today, the fourth industrial revolution is gathering momentum. In this revolution, IoT and AI technologies enable machines to independently collect and analyze data and take action. I feel that the world is changing at a speed that is continuously accelerating.

Under these circumstances, engineers are incessantly working to respond to customers’ needs for design and development and for technological development. I wonder if they anticipate future trends and if they are prepared to acquire the technologies and skills to respond to them. I wonder if they adopt an attitude of foreseeing what there will be in the near future and beyond, instead of merely working hard to respond to current trends. For example, with the higher level of accuracy of the GPS system in addition to the evolution of IoT and AI technologies, agricultural work may all be automated in the near future. Here, I mean that they should not spare their efforts to learn what they can do and what they are expected to do as engineers in the midst of dynamic changes in society and the industrial structure.

Some experts predict that nearly half of all work in society will be replaced with artificial intelligence. Here, I do not want our engineers to feel intimidated by that. I hope that they will rather change their mindset in a positive way; for example, to seek what extra value that has been hitherto unimaginable can be offered when they make full use of the useful tool of artificial intelligence. This is very important.

To stay active as lifetime professional engineers, I hope that our engineers will adopt a broader perspective to take a look at the whole of society without being shackled by conventional work and approaches. I believe that Meitec engineers will be able to attain advancement and sophistication of technologies that are a few steps away on the basis of discoveries and information obtained by observing the whole of Japan and the world again and again.