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Humans- Computers: Can We Talk?

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Seoul is known as the "leading digital city" on earth, and Korea is the world’s number one producer of mobile phones, displays, semiconductors, and other technological hardware.  Digital giants like Samsung and LG continually test new products on South Korean consumers, and the UH Center for Korean Studies is sponsoring a conference that could give us a glimpse into our technological future.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa spoke with a human-computer interface expert about what’s ahead.

The public is invited to a free conference on “Korean Communication Research and Practice,”  Thursday and Friday, August 27-28, at the UH M?noa Center for Korean Studies.  

Dr. Kwan Min Lee teaches Contemporary Korean Society and New Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His specialty is human-computer interaction. 

Dr. Kwan Min Lee discusses his experiences at Samsung and prospects for advancement in phone and auto technologies.

Cell phone saturation is above 97% among 18-24 year olds in South Korea, a particularly tech savvy bunch, they are seen as harbingers for what the rest of us may one day be using.  That’s why a glimpse into their technology design is so much fun.  Dr. Kwan Min Lee has wide experience in the tech industry, particularly with user experience.

Lee:  It’s partly computer science, partly social science, and also involves elements of design. 

Dr. Lee was also recently vice president of user experience at Samsung, where he and his team designed the television remotes on shelves now.  But what’s ahead, for say, telephones?

Lee:  Very important will be artificial intelligence, conversation partners, Siri, Bixby, Alexa, these AI based agents will be very important in smart phones.  Also the integration of smart phones with smart cars will bet the big issue in the future, so how are you going to make seamless integration of smart phones and smart cars  so that the information, entrtainment people have on their smart phones can seamless go to the smart car so the customers can enjoy a seamless access to their information and entertainment where ever they go.  That will be the big issue in the future.

Lee says in smart phone developments, we can also expect longer battery life or larger screens.  Real innovations will come, he says, linking smart phones with smart cars so users will have seamless integration of  information and entertainment.

Lee:  So in terms of innovation in smart phones, it will be incremental.  But in terms of innovation in smart cars, it will be disruptive.  In terms of smart car innovations, probably in five or six years from now,  really see totally different ways of driving your car, you will see totally different ways of using your car.  So I see that for the next five or six years the biggest changes will come in the smart car sector.

Dr. Kwan Min Lee is the keynote speaker for an upcoming conference on Korean communication.  Other topics include digital media and community, and culture and visual communication. 


Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture and ideas for Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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