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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

My Presence

In March 1991, I represented Hong Kong and attended a WIPO Worldwide Symposium on the Intellectual Property Aspects of Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University. Before participants could help design the future, they had to understand the intersection between law and technology. I happened to stay in a hotel built in the 1920s at Palo Alto, Silicon Valley.

In April, 2017, I checked in a hotel at Kyoto By The Sea for pleasure. The 320-year old historic hotel (formerly a museum recognized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs) has stringent rules ensuring the upkeep of the building, its fixtures and fittings. That I could sleep there reflects the museum-hotel and its management co-evolve with prevailing human and societal needs.

When I stayed in a historical hotel in Kobe's Arima hot spring district later, I learned that the operator had changed its marketing strategy by opening up the exclusive natural facilities and services to expatriate customers. Although the new idea and practice may be due to economic considerations, they do have some social meaning. To allow diversity, humans and societies on earth are growing.

We are biologically and psychologically attracted to anything that is novel or unusual. But when new things become familiar and ordinary to me, I would revisit the old stuff from a different perspective. More importantly, I feel my presence in the continuity of space - time, and the ideas, practices and habits however I express, would form part of the human culture!

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