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SM CEP Soo-Man Lee to Teach at the KAIST School of Computing
The Founder and Chief Executive Producer of SM Entertainment Soo-Man Lee was appointed as a distinguished visiting professor in the KAIST School of Computing. His three-year term starts on March 1. KAIST and the SM Entertainment signed an MOU on joint research on the metaverse last year and Lee’s appointment is the extension of their mutual collaborations in fields where technologies converge and will encourage innovative advancements in engineering technology and the entertainment industry. Lee, who completed a graduate program in computer science at California State University Northridge will give special leadership lectures for both undergraduate and graduate students, and will participate in metaverse-related research as a consultant. In particular, Professor Lee will participate in joint research with the tentatively named Metaverse Institute affiliated with the KAIST Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The institute will help SM Entertainment stay ahead of the global metaverse market by using the avatars of celebrities, and lend itself to raising the already strong brand power of the K-pop leader. Professor Lee said, “I am grateful that KAIST, the very cradle of Korea’s science and technology, has given me the opportunity to meet its students as a visiting professor. We will lead the metaverse world, in which Korea is emerging as a market leader, with the excellent contents and technology unique to our country, and work together to lead the future global entertainment market.” President Kwang-Hyung Lee said, “The ability to expand our limitless creativity in the metaverse is indispensable for us as we adapt to this new era. We hope that the vision and creative insights of Executive Producer Lee, which have allowed him to look ahead into the future of the entertainment contents market, will have a positive and fresh impact on the members of KAIST.” The global influence and reputation of Executive Producer Lee has been well established through his various awards. He was the first Korean to be listed on Variety500 for five consecutive years from 2017 to 2021. He was also the first Korean awardee of the Asia Game Changer Awards in 2016, the first cultural figure to receive the YoungSan Diplomacy Award in 2017, the only Korean to be listed on the 2020 Billboard Impact List, and he has also received the K-pop Contribution Award at the 10th Gaon Chart Music Awards. He recently introduced Play2Create (P2C), a new interactive and creative culture in which re-creation can be enjoyed like a game using IP, and is leading the establishment of the P2C ecosystem.
KAIST-SM Entertainment Joint Research for Metaverse
“Culture scientist will play a role in the future of the entertainment industry” KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee and SM Entertainment Founder and Chief Executive Producer Soo-Man Lee signed an MOU on joint research of the metaverse on June 23 at the Daejeon campus. SM Entertainment is the powerhouse of K-pop and Lee is a pioneering figure who helped Korean pop culture emerge into a global phenomenon. The KAIST-SM metaverse partnership will bring out new culture technology that will lead the virtual entertainment industry by creating more dynamic and vivid digital technologies. KAIST will utilize its AI, robot, and network technologies, while SM will provide its content production expertise for this metaverse research. President Lee said, “SM artists have mesmerized global audiences and opened new markets for K-Pop. Combining the creativity and cultural imagination of SM with technologies from KAIST, together we will make significant contributions to the advancement of virtual reality as well as the global entertainment industry.” The Graduate School of Culture Technology has been engaging in a variety of creative projects incorporating science and technology for decades and will now actively participate in this metaverse project with SM. CEP Lee explained, “The power of celebrities and avatars will rule the future entertainment industry. SM will make a leap forward to be a ‘first mover’ in the digital entertainment industry with this partnership with KAIST. This partnership will shape the new digital future of the entertainment industry boosted by cutting-edge technologies.” CEP Lee also delivered a special lecture for the KAIST community via Zoom. Saying that producers in the future will be ‘culture scientists’, he stressed the importance of technology converging with culture. “The key factor for K-pop’s success lies in the impressive technology of Korea. SM places a high priority on developing cultural technology and creating new artists and products combining this technology,” added Lee, citing the hologram contents of Beyond Live concerts and the new 4+4 girl group composed of four girls and four avatars called ‘Aespa.’
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