SK Telecom's latest virtual assistant is more than just a voice
SK Telecom's newest virtual assistant will put a face to its name.
The "A." app, which started a test run as a beta service Monday, is a combination of a chatbot, content curator and daily task manager. Though it may seem similar to Siri and Bixby, the most noticeable difference is that this "assistant" is not just a voice but also a character, said SK Telecom.
"Our service's aim is to become a friend to users during their daily lives," said Lee Hyun-a, SK Telecom chief product officer and head of the AI&CO department, during a press event held at SK Telecom's office in central Seoul, Monday.
The A. character, which is a "visualized agent" for the service, "is going to create an emotional bond with the users," said Lee.
The goal is to integrate diverse services scattered across several apps with a single app and offer a seamless user experience, according to SK Telecom.
“The service saves the time needed in app searching and installment, and offers fun content to help spend time more enjoyably,” said Lee.
Lee said that the A. brand is focused on delivering personalized services based on big data and machine learning technology directly to customers, unlike Nugu.
Nugu is SK Telecom’s existing artificial intelligence (AI) system, which is more centered on business-to-business sectors.
The A. app offers personalized services such as music and video curation and schedule management through a cute relatable character that can be customized by the user, the company explained.
After the basic registration process for the app, users are met with a page where they can customize the character’s name, design, voice and tone of speaking. Users can make conversations with the character for fun, or ask for services they need, such as searching, navigation, schedule management or alarm set-up.
As the app is connected to music streaming site Flo and video streaming platform Wavve, users can enjoy songs or videos through A. and also get content recommendations based on their preferences. The app supports other basic services as well, such as making phone calls or sending text messages.
The A. service is based on GPT-3 language model that has 175 billion parameters, developed by San Francisco’s OpenAI.
When the A. service cannot answer a user’s question, it sends the question to other users who may have answers.
Other machine learning-based services, including automated TV content curation and photo management will be updated within the second half of this year.
The A. app is currently available on the Google Play Store and One store. The iOS version is under development and will be available on Apple's app store in the future as well, said SK Telecom.
BY SHIN HA-NEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]