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Vietnam debuts AI-powered virtual assistant

Vietnam’s leading over-the-top (OTT) app, Zalo, officially launched its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered voice virtual assistant in Vietnamese, called Kiki, at the 2020 Zalo AI Summit, earlier this week. The technology offers services to assist driving, listening to music, and language translating. It can help with calculations, weather updates, and has an information search command.

According to a news report, the initiative marks a new stage in applying AI to the daily life of Vietnamese people. At the summit, the fourth of its kind, speakers from Zalo AI Lab, AWS, and JAIST focused on discussing topics concerning the application of AI to reality and how to make AI more popular with the Vietnamese people.

The Executive Vice President Vuong Quang Khai of VNG Corporation (the owner of Zalo), explained that with its superior speed in transmitting messages compared to other input methods, natural voice is the most effective means of communication between humans and computers. In the next five to ten years, voice will become a primary tool for humans in communicating with computers.

Tran Manh Hiep, the admin of the Tinhte.vn tech forum, said, “What I like most about Kiki is that the language is very natural, bringing the feeling of chatting with a real person without any strangeness.” Hiep also presented Kiki’s features for in cars, including offering directions, playing music, and answering knowledge questions.

The 2020 Zalo AI Summit welcomed two guests from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), who have directly implemented AI in many fields of business and life. My Nguyen, a representative of AWS, shared how to operate the machine learning system, one of the important aspects of AI development.

Speaking via videoconference from Japan, Professor Nguyen Le Minh, Director of JAIST’s Explainable AI Centre, touched upon the solution of using the natural language processing system to help scientists better obtain information, thus contributing to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, such as in-depth research on the virus, exploring the symptoms of the disease, psychological problems occurring under quarantine and combating fake news.

Vietnam also recently unveiled its first indigenously-developed data mining platform, the Vietell Data Mining Platform. It aims to help governments and businesses make decisions through their own data understanding, at a more affordable cost than foreign platforms.

As OpenGov reported, the platform provides real-time information or reports instead of having to synthesise information from many different sources, increasing employee productivity by 30% in terms of extracting information and making a report.

In addition to the application of AI technologies, the platform also integrates specialised knowledge from sectors such as marketing, asset management, finance, and risk management, to help optimise operations in an enterprise. Similar to Kiki, the platform has been designed according to the specific data demands of Vietnamese businesses to ensure in-depth analyses, in line with the goal of creating a digital society in Vietnam.

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