As COVID is slowing down, the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium (PNC), an international academic organization, solemnly held its 2022 annual conference and joint meeting at the University of Arizona on September 16. The theme for this three-day grand academic event is “The Digital World in an Age of Uncertainty: Humanizing Technology for Wellness, Resilience, and Creativity." It attracted more than 100 experts and scholars from 8 countries to participate and discuss the development prospect of digital technology humanization.
Chin-Shing Huang, Chair of PNC and Vice President of Academia Sinica, delivered a welcome speech via video at the opening ceremony. In the era of uncertainties with the pandemic, our way of living and socializing are merging online and offline, giving rise to humanizing technology through the evolution of digital technology is full of infinite possibilities. He mentioned that the theme of this conference reflects the current critical social issues. Through three high-profile keynote speeches, paper presentations, and workshops, academia and industry experts from various countries had more discussions, and inspiration was met over Digital Learning, Information Science, E-Business, Digital Humanities, and Techno-cultural.
Resumed In-person Meeting, Continue to Deepen the Pacific Rim Regional Cooperation
PNC was founded in 1993, and the administration has transferred from the University of California, Berkeley, to Academia Sinica in Taiwan since 1997. The mission of PNC is to utilize advanced network technology to connect the Pacific Rim by facilitating the exchange and sharing of information and promoting the application of electronic and information technology.
Chin-Shing Huang pointed out that over the past 29 years, PNC has continued collaborating with various top-class institutes worldwide, providing a magnificent platform for advanced scholars and researchers to achieve academic excellence. PNC’s vision is to bring professionals and talents together as one for a boundless development based on its historical foundation and longtime connection.
Due to the pandemic’s impact, PNC 2021 was held for the first time as an online virtual conference. This year, the conference has returned physically, hosted by the College of Humanities of the University of Arizona. The pandemic has made the preparation of the conference much more difficult. Chin-Shing Huang expressed profound gratitude to the College of Humanities of the University of Arizona for their support and dedication.
Robert Robbins, President of the University of Arizona, said it was a privilege to coordinate such an important international annual conference. He trusted the conference could facilitate meaningful cross-cultural exchanges of ideas to tackle the significant challenges our society faces today.
Hsi-Yuan Chen, CEO of PNC and the Director of Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures (ASCDC), who planned the PNC conference this year, led experts and scholars from 10 units in Taiwan to the U.S. to participate in the event. Over 20 topics were discussed during the three-day conference, and all engaged in a spirited conversation.
Science Analysis by 2 Academia Sinica Academicians through Keynote Speeches
The phrases such as “freely drifting clouds and flowing water” or “floating clouds and wild crane” have been used approvingly to describe lucid writing or unrestrained lifestyle. But do we really know what clouds are? Pao K. Wang, the Academia Sinica Academician and the Taiwan Atmospheric Scientist, is known for his research on cloud physics. He delivered his speech on "Why Clouds Are Not Innocent," which revealed how the clouds are one of the most active actors in shaping the energy balance, and that is what climate is all about.
Pao K. Wang received several recognitions for his research, including Samuel C. Johnson Distinguished Fellow and Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award. He is a pioneer in researching the interaction between the troposphere and the stratosphere caused by deep convective systems. He discovered the mechanism of internal gravity wave breaking occurring at the top of severe thunderstorms that can transport water substances to the stratosphere, which may exacerbate global warming.
Immersive Technology is the latest development trend. How to adapt to the digital wave and seize the opportunity is very important. Bryan Carter, Director of the Center for Digital Humanities and an Associate Professor in Africana Studies at the University of Arizona, started the "Virtual Harlem" project as early as the 1990s, applying virtual reality to humanities research. In recent years, he has continued exploring how traditional and advanced interactive and immersive technologies change the dynamic within the learning space.
Bryan Carter’s speech on "A New Level of Presence: Spatial Digital Humanities & Volumetric and Holographic Video Capture and Broadcast" explained that these two technologies are part of the future where these immersive experiences are heading. Both have the potential to revolutionize the ways we communicate, interact with one another, and engage content. He also shared the journey of his center's knowledge exploration regarding this field of study.
Ovid Jyh-Lang Tzeng, an Academician of Academia Sinica, is internationally renowned for Cognitive Neuroscience and Neurolinguistics. He is the third keynote speaker, and the topic is “Cognitive Wellbeing in the Digital World: The Future is Now!” The goal of emphasizing cognitive wellbeing is about increasing healthspan, not lifespan. As powerful computation is brought to bear on biology, psychology, cognitive neurology, and network engineering, human beings should be able to use the computing power of big data to formulate personalized intervention plans to predict and prevent diseases.
Nearly 60 Presentations Explore the Newest Developments in Information Technology Applications
PNC has collaborated annually with the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI). Six workshops were organized by ECAI this year for scholars to share their practical research experience focusing on topics like “Preservation in Times of Uncertainty,” “New Directions in Cultural Atlas Initiatives,” “Computing, Mapping, and Imaging,” "Geo-visualization, Geo-Parsing, and Index Measurement in the Study of Regional Religious Systems," “Culture, Data, and Power in Peripheries.”
Ten paper presentation sessions were arranged at the conference, assembled research teams from the United States, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan to publish several cutting-edge research results. The sessions include diverse and forward-looking topics such as "Preservation of the History of Public Lands," "The Future of AI Translation of Chinese Buddhist Sources," "Digital Sinology," “Digital Approaches to the Study of Cultural Heritage,” "Innovation and Application: A Step Forward," "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services," etc.
There were a poster competition and poster demonstrations (throughout the conference) to explore the newest developments in information technology applications. For example, the AI News Credibility Assessment System is used to enhance the effectiveness of Media Literacy Education. The establishment of the "Academia Sinica Online Optical Character Recognition and Proofreading System,” which all could use to conduct full-text conversion of Chinese images independently.
PNC 2022 Annual Conference & Joint Meetings (PNC 2022)
Conference Website: https://sites.google.com/view/pnc-2022
Conference Program: https://sites.google.com/view/pnc-2022/detailed-program?authuser=0
Mr. Chang-Hung Chen, Media Team, Secretariat, Central Administrative Office, Academia Sinica
Ms. Tsuey-Yin Piong, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures
Ms. Pei-Chun Kuo, Media Team, Secretariat, Central Administrative Office, Academia Sinica