Thursday’s visit to NAVER was one of our first looks into smart system technology. NAVER is essentially the Google of South Korea, offering web searching, news and entertainment, and also messaging services. We were given a presentation on their newest project, Clova, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to perform many things. For example, if given a video of too many background noises or two people talking at once, the noises can be separated based on system learning and facial recognition. They also played a video of a girl group (four members) performing, and the technology was able to separate the dancers into four separate videos for each member. These processes required no human input.
After the lecture, we toured the building, which incorporated its own smart systems into making it an efficient and eco-friendly building. It has special blinds that automatically open and close based on sunlight and temperature to regulate the building’s climate. The first two floors are also open to the public to use the libraries and cafe, which are full of plants to freshen up the air.
Where the employees actually work, there are a lot of accommodations for them. NAVER is a relatively new company compared to Samsung, so it does things a little differently. For instance, the employees are not held to a strict hierarchy system in the workplace and also do not work crazy long hours that Koreans are known to do. The building contains a gym with trainers, post office, bank, doctor station, beds for rest, and just about anything else one could think of to ensure employee comfort. I can tell how hard these people work and how necessary these accommodations can be. Seeing this makes me want to work for a company with a similar workplace philosophy to NAVER. I am sure that Google also offers benefits as mentioned above. Google (especially YouTube) is a competitor for NAVER in Korea and Japan, and NAVER hopes to beat it out and be a part of everyday life for Koreans. I am hesitant to agree with their goals here, as there are moral obligations when making people’s lives so dependent on one company, but I digress.
I spent the rest of the day shopping, and I can say that I have certainly spent more than enough. I am now worried about how I can pack my suitcase with all of the clothes and gifts, but for now I will make the best out of Korea.