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CTO, Sanghoon Hong The reason for joining Cinamon

Introduce yourself, please!

Hello, I'm SanghoonHong . I also use the nickname 'sanghoon,' which is the same as my name at the company.”

What role do you have at Cinamon?”

I serve as both CTO and AI Lab Lead at Cinamon. My main responsibility is leveraging AI technology effectively to enhance the value of CineV and Cinamon. This involves planning and organizing for this purpose, setting up environments, addressing challenges faced by the team and others. Of course, I also directly engage in technical prototyping and model research and development.
Recently, I've dedicated a lot of time to establishing relevant teams and infrastructure. The GPU servers are now set up, and I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of talented individuals to join the team."

Although I recently joined Cinamon, could you share your previous work experience and background?

Until recently, I was with KakaoBrain. I started as one of the early members and spent over five years in research and development. In my final role, I served as the Research Director for the Digital Human Studio. While there, I worked on various projects such as AI Go, voice conversion, but my primary focus and longest commitment were in analyzing and generating human faces, poses, and motions.
Before joining KakaoBrain, I worked at Intel Korea, where I conducted research and development in computer vision models and algorithm optimization. Prior to that, I was involved in Linux kernel development at Escor (formerly TmaxSoft). I've been fortunate to work with many talented individuals, contributing to my substantial growth.
So far, my work has mainly been in core technical areas. I'm excited about the prospect of bringing my experience to Cinamon, especially in the B2C services and content domains."

Why did you transition from a large corporation to a startup, and why Cinamon in particular?”

One day, I briefly visited LinkedIn, and the CEO, Doosun hong, personally sent me a message. Curiosity led me to meet with him. However, as we talked, I found the people to be pleasant, and communication was rational. Moreover, it seemed clear what role I could play in Cinamon's success. That's why I decided to join.
While it's not accurate to categorize companies strictly as startups or large corporations because each has its own characteristics, I joined Cinamon with the expectation of an 'proactive organization.'
Commonly referred to as large corporations tend to accumulate tasks unrelated to their essence for various reasons, leading to the expenditure of considerable mental energy and time. Necessary tasks to operate a large organization exist, but there were also quite a few tasks that didn't resonate with the core mission. In decision-making processes, it seemed to lean towards alternatives that would not encounter significant objections rather than making the optimal choices. Additionally, in large organizations, it's challenging for each member to grasp the overall picture.
While unavoidable aspects come with the territory of a large organization, personally, I wanted to belong to an organization where individuals actively contribute to work and can celebrate success together.
I hoped for an environment that allows focusing on the essence of work, a culture where anyone can solve problems and receive applause without worrying about internal politics, and an atmosphere where tasks are planned and executed not because of 'what if there's a problem later' but because it's deemed right. Currently, I am very satisfied with what I expected and what I have found at Cinamon.

How can AI technology impact the CineV project?

Cinamon aims to create a world where anyone can easily produce high-quality video content. I believe that AI will play a crucial role in achieving this goal, particularly in making 'easy for anyone' a reality.
While advancements in graphic technology have allowed us to create 3D animations or game CGs that are indistinguishable from reality, the process of creating a single piece of work still requires the efforts of many individuals and significant costs. Each step, such as character creation, animation editing, camera and lighting placement, requires the expertise of different professionals and a considerable amount of time.
However, by leveraging AI technology, many of these tasks can be automated. You might have seen instances where AI creates drawings or engages in conversations. You can think of applying similar methodologies to content creation.
The initial introduction of AI could involve a Digital Actor capable of performing as directed. Subsequently, we could have an AI director assisting with lighting, camera work, and eventually an AI screenwriter helping with plot and story creation."

What do you think Sanghoon can gain from working at Cinamon?”

What appeals to me here is the environment that allows me to focus on goals and essence. Decision-making is centered around 'what is needed and what results we aim for,' without being constrained by other aspects. Being here made me realize how much time I used to spend on unnecessary concerns and efforts in my previous experiences.
I find the clear vision and well-structured organization attractive. There are not only research and development, service planning, and design teams, but also internal experts in directing and writing. This readiness to complete the vision is impressive. I've encountered many cases where there is technology but no vision for productization/service, or there's a plan but lacking the technical capabilities to achieve it. Cinnamon is different in this regard, and that's what I appreciate."

What is Sanghoon's ultimate career goal?”

I'm currently focused on what I'm doing right now. Once Cinamon succeeds, I plan to consider what comes next. I'm determined to run hard for the success of Cinamon.