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SK launches new AI assistant service 'A.'

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A Model uses SK Telecom's AI assistant service
A Model uses SK Telecom's AI assistant service "A." in this photo provided by the company, Monday. Courtesy of SK Telecom

By Baek Byung-yeul

SK Telecom launched its artificial intelligence (AI) agent service, focusing on business-to-customer mobile AI assistant service, the telecommunications company said Monday.

The company said its new AI assistant service "A." ― pronounced as "A dot" ― is different from existing AI assistants because users receive personalized services by creating their own characters for the assistant.

While the existing services are at the level of answering voice-oriented commands, users can use voice commands to launch various kinds of mobile apps including SK Telecom's service apps, the company added.

Lee Hyun-a, vice president and head of AI&CO at SK Telecom, introduces the company's new AI assistant service
Lee Hyun-a, vice president and head of AI&CO at SK Telecom, introduces the company's new AI assistant service "A." at its press room in Seoul, Monday. Courtesy of SK Telecom

"We believe that the era of the AI agent will follow the era of PC and mobile devices. There is a growing need for a service that learns about the user and finds and executes the functions that the user wants," Lee Hyun-a, vice president and head of AI&CO at SK Telecom, said during a press conference in Seoul.

"The fundamental goal of A. is to provide a service that really saves users time. It is not made for competition with other AI services."

SK Telecom launched a beta version of A. for Google's Android OS-powered mobile phones on Monday.

After installing the mobile app, users can create and decorate their own characters. The company said it is possible to naturally switch to purpose-oriented conversations with the A. while talking with the service freely.

SK Telecom tied up its various services to allow A. to handle various tasks, such as thinking about what to watch on its video streaming service Wavve or what to listen to on its music streaming service Flo.

The company said its A. service boasts state-of-the-art technology as it is based on the latest language prediction model, Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), which uses deep learning technology to produce human-like text.

"The core AI technology that our A. service uses is GPT-3 technology, enabling users to communicate with the device more naturally," the company said.

For Apple iPhone users, SK Telecom will release an iOS version of the service next month. By cooperating with other companies, the company will expand A.'s scope so that users can complete more tasks such as, for example, studying English or managing photos. It will also release characters made by other companies to expand options.


Baek Byung-yeul baekby@koreatimes.co.kr


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