SEMI’s 2020 ITPC, which was held virtually instead of its usual Hawaiian location, offered such robust panel discussions, that it seemed a high-level summary alone couldn’t do it justice. So we decided to also provide a deeper look at each panel. This second installment discusses the Future of Work, Business, Technology, and Innovation. The geopolitical/economic panel discussion can be found here.
Omkaram Nalamasu, Senior Vice President and CTO Applied Materials; President Applied Ventures
Christophe Fouquet, Executive Vice President ASML
Luc Van den hove, President and CEO imec
Tsu-Jae King Liu, Dean College of Engineering University of California Berkeley
In the second panel, the future of work and innovation was discussed. The key question was what will the new work look like when the pandemic is over, and what changes are being made to adapt to the pandemic and the geopolitical situation.
The Future of Work Post-Pandemic
Luc Van den hove, commented that we would likely see the adoption of best practices from before the pandemic, and learning from the pandemic combined in the workplace. Work from home has been effective but lacks the opportunity for face-to-face collaboration, which all of the panelists agreed is critical for successful new research to take place. Video conferencing can go along way to keep the collaboration going but face-to-face takes it to the next level. Van den Hove felt that this was critical to the success of research institutes as IMEC, and the success of future research in general. Van den hove felt that we would look at this period as a tipping point for the implementation of new technology both in the semiconductor space and health care. There will be more self-diagnosis and 3D video, which in turn helps to drive higher bandwidth and better video software.
The Future of Learning Post-Pandemic
Tsu-Jae King Liu pointed out that academia has taken great lengths to improve how content is delivered by video conferencing to students and how student class interaction takes place. The software can tell the professor if a student is paying attention and what is their emotional status. Video conferencing enables different student-professor interaction that can be more interactive, break out room, and small group discussion, which can enhance the learning experience. King Liu suggested that post-pandemic there would still be extensive telecommuting for both students and professors. Several downsides to telecommuting are that there is the potential for fewer international students that can in the long-term impact the talent pool. Less student-to-student interaction, which as Van den hove pointed out can have an impact on how especially a first-year student learns to interact with people. King Liu pointed out that the academic institutions are taking steps to make sure all students have access to the technology that will enable them to succeed in their academic careers, hardware and communication tools have been provided to make sure there is no gap.
Christophe Fouquet agreed with the need for face-to face-collaboration to further research, but he also commented that video conference enables more people to attend conferences and workshops as there is no travel involved. However, he also commented that at least at the moment the video technology is limited. You can’t see body language, or if someone is paying attention to the presentation or working on email. Fouquet hoped that the innovation that the industry is seeing will continue as we move post-pandemic.
the panelists thought that when the industry comes out of the pandemic the work environment will potentially take the best of work at work and work from home and integrate the two to have the best of both worlds. However with video conferencing it is difficult to see and judge body language, or if people are paying attention. Dr. King-Liu, pointed out that colleges had pivoted quickly to create new materials that would better engage students, and that this process was ongoing. The industry has yet to adopt these techniques so it will be interesting to see if the industry starts to collaborate with academia on how to better deliver content to participants. All panelists miss the face-to-face collaboration and feel that face to face interaction is critical to successful technological advancements. But, since video conferencing is here to stay, advances in video technology are needed, better bandwidth, 3D imaging, and the ability to determine a person’s emotions and how attentive the persons in the discussion are. Some of these capabilities are emerging, but there is still a ways to go to improve the capabilities of video conferencing.