Technology and Arts Together Create a Better Future 科技與人文 撞擊美好的未來

Technology and arts must interact with each other so that technology can stay on the course expected by the masses, and so that it can create more diversified values that meet human needs. A dialogue between Feng Mingzhu, vice president of the National Palace Museum, and Gong Renwen, the deputy executive officer of the Institute for the Information Industry, organized by Ideas, a newsletter published by the Institute best depicts the interaction between technology and arts.

Gong: Present-day people work, are disturbed and monitored all the time. They are merely suffering from their own actions. All the technologies introduced are meant to better our lives. But it seems we are so busy that our lives have become worse. We cannot allow technology to progress limitlessly.

Feng: Since the Palace Museum moved to Taipei in 1967, our predecessors have been continually processing and cataloguing documents. Their work includes photocopying, cataloguing, photographing and plate making. In 1996, the Museum began digitizing documents and has since processed over 400,000 documents from the Qing dynasty it has in its collection. The curator and colleagues decided to digitize the documents and purchased cameras (scanners were nonexistent at that time). One of the reasons we used cameras is that they use luminescence. Photocopiers available at that time often transpired heat, which could damage the documents, so we used digital cameras. So far we have digitized 300,000 documents and the databases have begun providing services.

Our paintings and articles have been digitized with the help of two Academia Sinica departments, while our books are digitized by a private firm. They have not been integrated yet. We view these three systems as an open gate, with their databases not yet integrated.

Gong: With an information system unable to effectively meet humans’ basic needs, Taiwan would be like an “isolated information island”.

Feng: It’s like people speaking three different languages to each other. We have spent some two years integrating and have come this far, but we still have a lot of integrating to do. Though our researchers complain, we cannot live without it even for one day. As soon as “blue and white porcelain” is entered, they get many hits. How can you do that without digitization technology?