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Korean Authors


Writer Song Gil-Young

A clear-cut forecast of the times provided by a man who “mines” the minds of the time




One book published last year made headlines and became a bestseller. It is Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals (Kyobo Book Centre), which brought about a sensation by claiming that a new era of individuals called “nuclear individuals” has arrived due to the development of AI technologies and aging populations. The book’s writer, Song Gil-Young, calls himself a “mind miner,” meaning a person who mines the minds of the time using big data. As he precisely pinpoints the changes of the time through big data analysis more than anyone else, his latest title, Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals, provides insights into various fields. This book can be regarded as the extension of Just Don’t Do It (Book Stone) and Do Not Imagine (Book Stone), his previous titles offering advice for the future. Song’s “forecast of the times,” which provides every piece of advice he could offer for people to stably prepare for the future, is based on heartwarming affection for humanity. Following is an interview with writer Song Gil-Young, who says he will continue to forecast the times as an active writer.


Writer Song Gil-Young



It is an honor to have you with us on K-Book Trends. Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.


I think I was able to read the minds of the times as I have been into big data for more than 20 years now, analyzing people’s various interests. I call myself a “mind miner” because it’s what I do - I “mine” people’s thoughts. It’s a pleasure to be meeting international readers through K-Book Trends. I also hope that through this interview, my book Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals will advance into more markets in the world. It was a personal shame that my books have not yet been published in the US or the UK, while they have entered China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It was about 60 years ago when media scholar Marshall McLuhan first used the expression “global community,” and now I think we have truly become one. So, against this backdrop, I hope more of my books are translated into English and reach out to more readers across the world.


Your books, including Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals and Just Don’t Do It, are topping the list of bestsellers. What’s more, Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals won Park Moo Future Foundation’s Excellent Book Award last year as well as the Chung Jin-Ki Journalism Culture Award this year. Please tell us how you feel and introduce us to the book.


The year 2012, when I wrote Your Desires Can be Seen (Sam & Parkers), was the time when “big data” began to emerge as a keyword. I had already been in the field for more than 10 years. The book was a compilation of the works I have done, but luckily, many people read it - it led to Do Not Imagine in 2015 as I caught that people were interested in the topic. Back then, observation was something more important than data. But going through the COVID-19 pandemic, AI’s intellectualization gained speed, people turned to prefer contactless interaction, and connectivity co-evolved. And the book that delivers the message of “let’s look at our lives with these in mind and prepare for the future” was Just Don’t Do It.
Then, I wrote Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals to urge people to view changes in the era by studying, as I got the idea that people need to have insights for the future. If you observe and understand people’s behaviors, you can predict the next move. I wanted to find safe and supportive ways to think about changes and “forecast” them to people. It’s an honor to have received such precious awards for my works, as they have become vital turning points for me as a writer.


Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals

Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals



Issues related to big data are taken seriously across our society. As a “mind miner,” you have been active in various channels, such as publications, lectures, and YouTube. What do you take most seriously as you engage in such activities, and what do you stress the most when writing a book, in particular?


Well, to begin with, I just wanted to study. As I studied, I became interested in hearing other people’s stories, and for that, I needed time to exchange thoughts with others, and i did this through lectures. This is why I began giving lectures first before becoming an active writer. Then, I felt the responsibility to gather up the things that I studied and learned through communication, which led to the publication of books. And then, as I had to promote those books, I had to appear in YouTube videos. I think it was like a cycle in which I served different roles following the changes in society.
I think what’s important is the content, not the channel. So, I listen to the advice of people who walked on the path before me, have discussions with people studying in the same field, and write as a means to check the results of the weekly seminars or organize my thoughts. When I reflect on the things I have done, and think or assess other people’s thoughts and behaviors, I get sources for writing. The objective time, as derived from changes in routine, becomes the fuel for writing. I take this process seriously when writing because it is the role of a writer to recognize, acknowledge, and observe changes.



It is my job to explain things that you already feel but cannot articulate.



The title of the book Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals is eye-catching and quite refreshing. You have suggested fresh keywords like “forecast of the times” and “nuclear individual,” following “mind miner.” How do you get the ideas for such keywords, and why do you think we need a “forecast of the times”?


I often take time to reassess the clear patterns of change I discover while analyzing data. When a word I propose feels connected to us, we accept it, but this requires unearthing words rather than inventing them. My job is to explain what we already feel but cannot articulate. It involves reflecting on what is already ingrained in our daily lives and actions, which include the struggles of numerous entities, and creating words that give meaning to these reflections. As life and society rapidly change, it is essential to create words that define these transformations. This is how the term ‘nuclear individual’ was born. As society evolves and the future changes rapidly, I felt the need to predict the times, just as weather forecasts are necessary.


Compared to your previous titles, Your Desires Can Be Seen, Do Not Imagine, and Just Don’t Do It, what message did you highlight in the latest Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals?


I think the target of the message has broadened from individuals to society in general. The message in the previous 3 books was “observe your life, and reflect on your daily life by looking at your behaviors more deeply.” Whereas this book is about “how our society, our group, makes consensus and how long such consensus lasts.” The biggest difference from previous books is that, as mentioned, the target audience has changed; I wanted to write in a different style because it is a matter of changing the perspective to match the era and society. So, I wanted to structure my thoughts to change the text style and density of the writing. I was also afraid of whether the work of changing the perspective to fit the era and society would be well conveyed to the readers, but many people read it more than I expected, and I’m thankful for it.


Do Not Imagine

Do Not Imagine



Why do you think big data has become important in society? Also, what value do you think big data can generate?


Happiness and satisfaction would increase if we fulfill each other’s desires in our lives. While it’s natural to feel happy when our delicate emotions are reflected, it has not been easy to express or reflect personal feelings or thoughts in our society until today. But, algorithms have made this possible. Data for individual analysis gained more importance because we feel happy when we are able to express our desires. If we express our thoughts and make them reflected, we can move on to a beautiful society that respects individuals. And it’s the power of data that can make this a reality. Ultimately speaking, the value that big data generates is enabling individuals to take the lead in their own lives, adding abundance and beauty.


You have been providing rich advice on general issues surrounding our society. It seems that it requires a certain level of knowledge in various fields. What kind of books do you usually read?


I read across all genres. I even read books that I receive for promotional requests. I read at all times as I need to enhance my awareness and senses. I tend to read based on how a topic resonates with society, where it came from, and who the writer is. Seeing who the writer is is a gauge of how deeply and intensely they have thought about the topic. However, since I can’t read every book, I try to read the ones that are relevant to me as much as possible. For me and the people I work with, we see signs from the data, and we also get to expand our perspectives as we become more sophisticated in our work. For this reason, choosing books is relatively easy.


『그냥 하지 말라』

Just Don’t Do It



In the book Just Don’t Do It, you emphasized that people should “do it first and make it last,” and mentioned the importance of building a fandom. Let alone in all fields, but especially in publishing, people are trying to create “fandoms” these days. What advice would you give them?


If it’s possible to spread out someone’s thoughts, everyone would be able to do it. Infinite production leads to more suppliers, but as consumers are limited, it creates regulars, or fans. From now on, small-sized fandoms will be created, and services will become more sophisticated. While it’s like the theory of evolution, it is important for fandoms to have excellent content as the foundation. In other words, planning suggests direction, and content recruits warriors to walk in that direction. I believe that it is the publishing industry’s mission to discover new writers and provide them with support to establish fandoms. The annual spring literary contests would be one example of such “content.” It is my opinion that the industry should be able to set up a framework for the creation of fandoms by discovering new content more actively as it has also become platform-based.


Writer Song Gil-Young



It feels like your works are a mixture of technology and humanism. While it seems like you are seeking ways for technological advancement to ultimately make people’s lives warmer and more abundant, can you tell us your ideas in this regard?


Because technology is about technologically building things that augment human life, technology and humanism are on the same page. Earlier, we would communicate at a distance where we could hear each other if we called out, but now the entire world is teleconferencing. It is an expansion of the scope of life. In other words, because we want to have amplified relationships with each other, technology and humanity are inseparable, and we are already living that way. Technology is augmenting humans, that is, us.
Regarding the new era - the future, some say that it has already come, and some say that it is coming. The view differs by people. As I mentioned in Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals, I think it would be important for each of us to become a “nuclear individual” who walks towards the narrow gate called “high end,” and make every moment in daily life into a portfolio, create one and only one life narrative for ourselves, and live our lives well. Such efforts will enrich individual lives, and such individuals will gather to create qualitative abundance in society as a whole.



If people’s thoughts can be expressed and reflected,
we would be able to create a beautiful society where individuals are respected.



We look forward to your next book as you are garnering greater attention and support. Last but not least, can you please share your future plans along with a message for our readers?


Korea is ahead of other countries in terms of speed. It boasts hyper-connectivity (constant connectivity provided by technology and Social Media platforms), high concentration, a unique culture, low illiteracy rate, and a broad distribution of smartphones - all thanks to the wide application of the electronic information system. This is why people say Korea’s efforts to overcome current struggles can be a good example for other countries. I believe that reading Forecast of the Times: Era of Nuclear Individuals will be helpful for people in other countries, who will later experience the things Korea has gone through earlier. So, I hope that major publishers in countries such as the US, UK, and Japan take an interest in publishing the book.
For the time being, I would like to continue with forecasting the times. If there is a change in the era, it needs to be applied – I’m thinking of making things about such applications into content, which I will offer as hints for industries. As all of this is about learning for me, I will try to have fun along the way.




#Song Gil-Young#Forecast of the Times#Big data#Fandom
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