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Monday, March 4, 2024

Kakao to launch AI chatbot service targeting businesses

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The Kakao Pangyo Office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi [YONHAP]
The Kakao Pangyo Office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi [YONHAP]

Kakao has thrown down the gauntlet in the enterprise-grade generative artificial intelligence market as it aims to tap into the growing demand for ChatGPT-like assistant services among corporate users.

In a closed beta test of its new service, tentatively named Kakao i GPT, users will be able to search for documents through the chatbot system.

According to industry sources on Wednesday, Kakao’s subsidiary for IT services, Kakao Enterprise, is testing the service with select businesses and institutions. It is meant to increase workplace productivity through the introduction of AI technology like ChatGPT.

Kakao i GPT will be offered exclusively to businesses and institutions, particularly for use in security and domain-specific applications. The service is designed to allow companies to access the information they require through chatbot-style conversations, even if the company doesn’t have its own chatbot.

To use the service, businesses can upload files, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, to the Kakao i GPT website. Within minutes, the Kakao Enterprise chatbot will be able to provide customized responses. For example, if a company uploads a manual on employee entry passes and an employee asks the chatbot how they can apply for an entry pass, the chatbot should be able to generate an appropriate response.

“Kakao i GPT uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate responses based on publicly available documents, while confidential or secure documents are handled by the system in a way that bypasses ChatGPT to prevent information leaks,” an official of the company said, adding, “Kakao Enterprise’s search and machine comprehension technology is utilized in the service.”

The release date for the live service remains uncertain as of now.

The Kakao i GPT live service is expected to launch under a different name, as OpenAI announced in late April that it had applied for a trademark for GPT, which stands for “generative pre-trained transformer.”

Kakao views AI as one of its key growth drivers for the future, and it opened the possibility of forming partnerships with major global AI companies like OpenAI.

The tech giant is also preparing to engage in AI research, development and commercialization through its various subsidiaries.

In October, one of Kakao’s AI subsidiaries, KakaoBrain, developed a specialized Korean-language AI model called KoGPT and an image-generating AI model called Karlo. The company plans to release Karlo 2.0 this month, followed by KoGPT 2.0 in the second half of the year. They also plan to launch a conversational chatbot, KoChatGPT, that will utilize KoGPT sometime this year. In the field of medical AI, the company plans to release a web demo service of an AI computer-aided diagnosis system based on medical image interpretation in the third quarter of this year.

The generative AI market for enterprises is expected to further expand, meaning that demand from companies will increase to effectively utilize massive amounts of data in their operations using generative AI models.

SK Telecom recently started using generative AI with the introduction of an in-house chatbot that utilizes the ChatGPT application programming interface.

Generative AI service providers are also developing services to meet the rising demand from companies.

OpenAI announced on April 25 that it is developing a business subscription model called ChatGPT Business. Start-ups in Korea is also developing generative AI models for professionals, such as Upstage’s AskUp Biz and Allganize’s Alli GPT.

BY KIM NAM-YOUNG [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]