SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- SK Telecom Co., South Korea's largest mobile carrier, said Tuesday it has partnered with Samsung Electronics Co. and Kakao Corp., the country's top mobile messenger operator, to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The telecom operator said the three companies formed a joint research and development group to develop and unveil the AI, which will offer preventative advice against COVID-19 infections, by early next year.
According to SK Telecom, the AI will analyze and predict COVID-19 hot spots and recommend social distancing measures to its users. It will also be able to answer disaster-related questions by voice.
The three companies plan to open the AI platform for use by public institutions and developers.
The move comes as the three companies started pursuing joint AI projects in March this year.
All three companies offer AI services, such as Samsung's Bixby, SK Telecom's Nugu and Kakao's AI speakers.
SK Telecom said the companies plan to expand the group to include other local and foreign players and form a global AI alliance.
The latest development also warms ties between SK Telecom and Kakao after they reached a share-swap deal in October last year.
The mobile carrier owns a 2.5 percent stake in Kakao, which in turn holds a 1.6 percent stake in SK Telecom.
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