Some of the novelties that the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) plans to implement over the next year together with the new applications for visitors are two forms of interactive communication through artificial intelligence (AI) systems, the Acting Head of Organizational Planning and Development Department of MGTO, Herbert Choi, explained during yesterday’s press conference.
According to Choi, the MGTO will be testing two similar systems of interactive responses to visitors’ questions and solicitations, one via mobile chat named “Chatbot” and the second through an even more interactive device named “Singou Butler 1,” a robot that can reply to visitors’ questions, suggest activities and places to visit, and other relevant information.
Demonstrated to the media, “Singou Butler 1” replied to Cantonese questions and orders but according to the director of the MGTO, “It will be able to understand and reply to questions and solicitations in Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as in English,” adding, “for other options [of language], we need to develop more as there is a long learning path and a long process to input information and content.”
When questioned on the topic, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes elaborated that the initial plan is to place these robots in “controlled environment venues such as Tourism Information Centers as well as in fairs and at other events.”
Fernandes also said the robot project comes without cost for MGTO as it part of a partnership with a local company (Singou Technology – Macau Limited) that is building and developing the robot, transforming it from an initial company robot for elderlies living alone to a tourism information asset.
According to the information provided, the company will provide MGTO with a total of 12 robots in the first phase.
The same system will be made available in “Chatbot,” an interactive customer service system that answers basic queries about tourism information via Facebook messenger. “Chatbot” is developed by the same company and will use the same three languages.