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People want to hear they’re pretty, SKT finds

May 08,2018
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A model speaks to SK Telecom’s Nugu artificial intelligence speaker. [SK TELECOM]
A lot of Koreans apparently need to hear that someone out there thinks they’re beautiful - even if that someone is an AI speaker.

Chats with SK Telecom’s AI assistant Nugu increased by 20 percent after it released the My Q&A feature in March, which lets users save up to 30 answers to questions they ask the assistant.

Many people want to hear that they’re attractive, as “who is the prettiest person in this world?” was one of the most common questions Nugu received, according to SK. Conventional greetings like “Hello,” “I’m hungry” or emotional confessions like “I love you” were also popular.

Unlike real-life crushes, if a user programs Nugu to answer questions, it will always tell users literally anything they want - as long as they don’t swear or include suggestive details. Users can register their answers on a mobile app connected with the AI device.

Korea’s largest telecom company said the questions and answers reflect a growing trend among young Koreans, who hope to find small pleasures in their everyday lives.

Unlike the magic mirror from “Snow White,” though, Nugu’s answers aren’t based on reality.

The mobile carrier enabled users to register up to three answers to each question. According to SK, this option can help indecisive people.

People who struggle with the difficult question of whether to order pizza or chicken for dinner can program Nugu to answer the question for them. The carrier said that the service is not just for entertainment purposes and can be useful for remembering favorite recipes or loved ones’ birthdays.

“We added the My Q&A feature to [make Nugu] a true life companion for customers,” said Park Myung-soon, head of SK Telecom’s AI business unit. “We will keep developing new and unexpected services by combining voice interfaces with AI.”


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]