There is Time, There is Space, and There is ‘You’

Time is infinite. But you can always specify a particular moment in your life. Space is infinite as well. But you can define your own ‘space’ at a given time. Spacetime is a model that fuses the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time into a four-dimensional manifold.

But then there is “You.”

“You”: a student, currently occupying a tiny little space in the auditorium at the Chaloem Rajakumari 60 Building in the Chulalongkorn School of Integrated Innovation (ScII).

The interplay of time and space and the importance of each individual student was the theme of the journey the students undertook as they attended the inaugural lecture delivered by Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, Executive Director of the Chulalongkorn School of Integrated Innovation (ScII). The event was the Orientation Day program for the new batch of students held on August 4, 2020.

Traversing human history’s milestones, Prof. Worsak acquainted the students with the three preceding revolutions: the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Digital Revolution. A fourth revolution, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution, is underway, Prof. Worsak told incoming students. “Change is rapid, change is global, and change is disruptive,” Prof. Worsak said, adding that as with icebergs, only 10 percent of this change is visible to us, while close to 90 percent is unfathomable.

“We live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world that is witnessing six societal megatrends: a population boom, urbanization, climate change, environmental degradation, wealth inequality, and aging societies,” the ScII Executive Director said. This new world is also characterized by six Ds: Digitization, Deception, Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization, and Democratization.

Amidst these changes, Prof. Worsak stressed the need for education to prepare the new generation for intense periods of social, cultural, and economic transformation. It is a moment of singularity, where technological change is relentless and virtually uncontrollable, resulting in unprecedented changes in human civilization. “The 19th-century education model continues to prepare students for jobs of the past, while the 21st-century model needs to equip students with skills that can help them adapt to new professions and confront emerging challenges,” Prof. Worsak said.

That is why the mission of ScII is “to produce a new breed of global citizens who are empowered to negotiate over their lifetimes the challenges of the changing world,” Prof. Worsak concluded.

Earlier, Associate Professor Dr. Natcha Thawesaengskulthai, Vice President for Strategic Planning, Innovation, and Global Engagement, introduced incoming students to the vision of Chulalongkorn University. “Innovations for Society” and “Leading Futures” are the keywords as Chulalongkorn University celebrates 103 years of operations. “Innovations will bring prosperity; innovations will bring new jobs; innovations will bring new ways of living,” Vice President Dr. Natcha told students. She highlighted the importance of how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the concept of Thailand 4.0 provided the backdrop for various initiatives of Chulalongkorn University.

Presenting the various innovations at Chulalongkorn University that were aimed at combating the challenges posed by COVID-19, Vice President Dr. Natcha stressed that the University considers the students of BAScII as “future leaders,” who will be equipped with the right skills to help them emerge as global citizens.

Dr. Warinya Chemnasiri, Director of Academic Affairs, provided an overview of academic life in the four-year Bachelor of Arts and Science in Integrated Innovation (BAScII) program offered at ScII. Incoming students were also introduced to ScII faculty and staff members by the event’s MC Ms. Daria Dmitrieva, International Affairs Officer. Four sophomore students also held an informal panel discussion responding to queries from the incoming cohort.