SK Telecom launches new growth-type AI service with cute characters

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 16, 2022, 16:33 Updated : January 25, 2023, 18:01

[Courtesy of SK Telecom]

SEOUL -- SK Telecom has launched a new growth-type artificial intelligence service with cute characters that handles the cumbersome tasks that customers face using smartphones and recommends and plays what they may like. Unlike other hard and cold AI brands, it aims to become a brand that grows with customers.

The new AI service called "A. (A dot)" is initially available as an open beta version to Android smartphone users. To help customers use their time for more valuable activities, the new AI secretary handles many different tasks on smartphones and recommends or plays music or video that match their preferences, SK Telecom (SKT) said, adding it is a time-saving service that intelligently gets the job done for customers.

"We created 'A.' as a means to provide customers with the benefits of warm, human-centered technologies in this era of AI," SKT CEO Ryu Young-sang said in a statement on May 16. The AI secretary service is a concept in which avatars of each smartphone customer act as a secretary or friend. It will be linked with a metaverse platform.

Users can decorate their own characters and talk to them through voice or text. Various services necessary for daily life such as music, OTT, transportation, calendar, phone, and text messages can be conveniently connected to A-dot. It also provides living information.

It is a service that could save customers time and lower search and installation costs. "The cost of searching for necessary functions in overflowing apps and the cost of installing multiple apps to receive all the desired functions are increasing, and customer inconvenience is increasing," SKT's AI service platform head Lee Hyun-ah told reporters.   

Due to the nature of AI language models that require learning, SKT said that there may be occasional non-truthful answers or out-of-context conversations that can be improved through continuous conversations and data accumulation. Daily conversations are combined naturally with the handling of specific tasks requested by customers. 

Unlike other voice-based AI assistant services, SKT said that A. is characterized by visualization. "The ability of daily conversations is significantly higher than that of existing voice assistant services," Lee said, adding that the new service would reflect user feedback and improve through internal advancement.

Built with advanced natural language processing and sentiment analysis technologies, SKT's new AI service enables customers to create and enjoy communicating with an AI character that understands them well. The service is based on GPT-3, an autoregressive language model created by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based AI research lab. The quality of the text generated by GPT-3 is so high that it is difficult to distinguish from that written by a human.

SKT said that A. would become smarter and more helpful through customer feedback and constant self-learning. Customers can send text messages, make phone calls, set alarms, manage schedules, and check daily information like weather, news and stock quotes. A. is the first step toward establishing AI-Verse, an integrated service that can even allow users to engage in economic activities, and innovating AI throughout the group.
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