Will Next Generation Technologies Come From Asia?

from the planning,-planning,-planning... dept

What's the best way to foster ongoing innovation? There seem to be two prevailing theories. One, is the way the US works, with the government mostly staying out of the game, letting bubbles grow and burst, and seeing what survives. This system relies on lots of competition, some wasted investment, but a very fast Darwinistic method for testing, discarding and re-testing ideas. This has definitely worked for some technologies, though it seems wasteful to some. It also often (though, not always) leads to de facto, rather than agreed up on standards. However, another theory is that governments need to help stimulate interest in innovation, and that seems to be the prevailing theory in Asia. You can see it in the speed with which a country like South Korea has become a broadband and wireless powerhouse. It doesn't do away with competition at all, but tries to make it more directed. So, it's interesting to read an article that compares the "next generation" technology initiatives being pushed by the governments of Japan, South Korea and China. The article seems to suggest that the innovation in these areas is likely to come from these three countries, rather than elsewhere -- which might be true, but doesn't seem to take into account what happens if they make choices that the market doesn't accept, or if others come along outside the standardized process to create something that does take off. Already, we can see some of this in the efforts to standardize what "4G" wireless technologies will be -- which is shaping up to be a battle between South Korean and Japanese interests. While American and European companies are picking sides, is the core of the innovation going to come from these planned systems, or is it more likely to come from the chaos of the completely open market?


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  1.  
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    dorpus, Feb 2nd, 2005 @ 1:26pm

    When will Asians move into DNA chips?

    For now, there's just a few American companies that make DNA/RNA/Protein microarray chips. I did read a news release yesterday that Canon is building a huge R&D center for microarray technology, and may offer a commercial product as early as this year.

    It would be welcome competition, since right now, microarrays tend to be poor quality, with results varying from one chip to the next, and makers being secretive about exactly what is on their chip.

    Once microarrays are as chip as silicon chips, then the biotech revolution will truly take off. For now, they still cost hundreds of dollars.

     

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  2.  
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    Hiawatha Bray, Feb 2nd, 2005 @ 2:11pm

    Government-guided innovation

    Been there, done that. Remember MITI, the Japanese government agency that guided that country's firms into the "correct" research and development choices? Didn't work out too well for the Japanese. No surprise...government bureaucrats are generally lousy at figuring out what the market really wants. To the extent Japan succeeded it was more in spite of MITI than because of it.

     

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  3.  
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    dorpus, Feb 2nd, 2005 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Government-guided innovation

    Could it be that Microsoft, Dell, Boeing, all those big names in American high tech, have benefited from government initiatives or subsidies more than they care to admit? Could it be that most American high-tech companies, when they aren't pleasing the masses by talking about "self-reliance" or "free markets", look to the government as their best customers? It could be that the internet was built by a government research lab.



     

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  4.  
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    xman, Feb 3rd, 2005 @ 5:15am

    Re: Government-guided innovation

    You seem to have believed the spin about MITI and next generation computing. In fact they got a lot out of MITI, it just wasn't what they claimed to the rest of the world that they were after. (In fact it seemed to me at the time to be pretty obvious that this was what was going on, but everyone got really scared by the whole thing)

     

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  5.  
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    jeanrow, Feb 4th, 2005 @ 3:48pm

    Horrible link...

    Comparison table on the link you proposed is laughable. You shouldn't have quoted any article on Korean media. They constantly lies to get their peoples motivation up. Remember, if you believe Korean, you and your article loses trust.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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